Language Learning


Language Learning

Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe – 2017 Edition

18 May 2017 (Eurydice)

The 2017 Edition of Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe depicts the main education policies regarding teaching and learning of languages in 42 European education systems.

Some of the questions answered in the report:
  • How long do students spend studying foreign languages?
  • What are the ten most commonly offered foreign languages?
  • Do foreign language teachers travel abroad for training?
  • How many immigrant students speak the language of schooling at home?
  • Plus much more
The report can be accessed on the European Commission's Eurydice website.

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Promoting linguistic skills a priority under the Czech chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

18 May 2017 (ECML)

The Czech Republic takes over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 19 May. Among the nine designated priorities of the 6 month chairmanship is the promotion of human rights education and linguistic skills.

“The Czech Republic continuously develops and improves tools for linguistic and cultural inclusion in Czech schools to help them deal with the increasing number of pupils whose mother tongue differs from the language of instruction. In this connection, the Czech Chairmanship will actively co-operate with the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) on promoting teachers’ and other language professionals’ capacities to develop linguistic skills and intercultural competences of learners, as a prerequisite for their successful education.

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Euroscola dates for autumn 2017

16 May 2017 (European Parliament)

Euroscola brings together about 600 students from all over the European Union for a day in Strasbourg discussing aspects of European integration, in multilingual working groups of 100 students. It is open to students aged 16-18 and the European Parliament offers a subsidy towards the costs of the journey to Strasbourg.

As working groups consist of students from several member states it is essential that participants have a sound knowledge of at least one other European Union language. For practical purposes knowledge of French is necessary as during the "committee" meetings in the afternoon, students are expected to think and speak in a language other than their mother tongue. The debates are held mainly in French and English.

Dates for the autumn term 2017 are now available.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Euroscola website.

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Falkirk win at Euroquiz final

16 May 2017 (SEET)

Congratulations to the P6 team from Comely Park Primary School, who won the Scottish European Educational Trust’s National Euroquiz Final 2017, which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 15th May 2017.

Team members Tamsin Gold, Edwin Walker, Robyn Dewar-Young and Jaymie Jones were crowned SEET’s Euroquiz Champions 2017 at the national final. The winners were closely followed by St Leonard’s Primary School team from South Lanarkshire, in a nail-biting final round. Sciennes Primary School from Edinburgh also did incredibly well, winning the prize for third place.

Euroquiz is run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, a non-political charity, which promotes education about language learning, Europe and the wider world amongst Scotland’s young people.

See the attached press release for full details about this year's competition and participating schools.

If your school might like to take part in future competitions, visit the SEET website for more information.

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Related Files

Related Links

Third Place in Euroquiz 2017! (Sciennes Primary School, 15 May 2017) - post includes photos and links to the event on Parliament TV.

Young Language Learner Award - 2017

15 May 2017 (B small publishing)

The Young Language Learner Awards are back!

B small publishing are inviting children and young people to write a four-page story in a foreign language they are learning (choose from Chinese, English, French, German, Italian or Spanish) to be in with a chance of winning books worth £50.

One winner will be picked from the under 6 category and one winner from the 6 and over entries.

Visit the website for full details and to submit entries by 15 June 2017.

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Language Perfect World Championships 2017

12 May 2017 (ALL)

This year's Language Perfect World Championships take place from 15 - 25 May.

Students participate in the world's largest online languages event over 10 days with the chance to earn certificates and qualify for awards and prizes by translating between their target language and English. The competition is relevant for everyone, whatever their ability.

The first 500 schools to register will receive 50 free entries. (ALL members can register all students for free).

Find out more about the competition via the ALL webpage and the competition website.

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Leaving Certificate language students ‘learning off’ exam answers

11 May 2017 (Irish Examiner)

(Relates to Ireland) In a series of reports on student performance in language exams last June, chief examiners say students must learn how to adapt, instead of using learned-off answers.

The issues were most acute in the 2016 Leaving Certificate exams in Spanish, French, and Italian.

There are many positive aspects, particularly about the competencies of more able students of the six languages, which also included German, Japanese, and Russian.

But in oral exams, which are worth between 20% and 25% of marks in language subjects, a common concern is that students have prepared answers.

The Spanish Leaving Certificate examiner reported, for example, that a number of students had been taught in a “rote-learning” manner that prevented the natural flow of conversation.

“Many candidates had prepared a range of topics in the general conversation, but, when gently disengaged from rote-learned topics, found it difficult to communicate effectively in the target language,” the reports said.

The reports are published today by the State Examinations Commission (SEC), whose chief examiner in Leaving Certificate French said most students were well-prepared for the orals and had a high degree of proficiency and fluency.

However, at the other end of the scale, some of the 25,758 students examined in the subject had difficulty answering even simple questions.

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Update to CISS Professional Learning Menu 2016-17

11 May 2017 (CISS)

The CISS 2016-17 professional learning menu 'Making Chinese work for you' has been updated to include two new cross-sector workshops:
  • Parent/carer engagement with the learning of Mandarin
  • Coaching and mentoring for your Hanban teacher/volunteer

Visit the Professional Learning page of the CISS website to find out more and to arrange a learning event.

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National Digital Learning Week 2017

9 May 2017 (Digilearn)

National Digital Learning Week takes place from 15-19 May 2017.

This year the theme of the week is ‘Digital Difference’ and throughout the week you’re invited to share and celebrate the digital approaches which make a positive impact on your classroom practice.

Why not use this opportunity to share any digital approaches you have to language teaching and learning in your classroom?

Visit the website to find out more about how you can participate and be inspired.

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The Stephen Spender Prize 2017

9 May 2017 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2017 Stephen Spender Prize is open for entries. Entrants are invited to submit an English translation of a poem from any language, ancient or modern. As always, there are prizes in three categories – Open, 18-and-under and 14-and-under – and the competition is open to UK and Irish citizens and residents.

Entry deadline is Friday 26 May 2017.

Visit the website for further information and submission guidelines.

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Consul General Pan Xinchun Visits Fettes College

9 May 2017 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China)

On 4 May, Consul General Pan Xinchun paid a visit to Fettes College where he delivered a speech to the students and had a cordial meeting with the headmaster Michael Spens.

In his speech, Mr. Pan spoke highly of the Fettes College for its outstanding achievements in education. He indicated that well-educated students with global vision need knowledge about China. As the second largest economy, China has made huge contributions to the global development. He introduced the close links between China and Scotland by giving examples of people's daily life. Mr. Pan said, the demand in other countries for Mandarin speakers is increasing as China's cooperation with the rest of the world is deepening with a growing number of people learning Chinese language and culture. In Scotland alone, nearly 30,000 students from primary and secondary schools are learning. He encouraged the students to work hard and gain more understanding about China so as to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Scotland.

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EOL network ’Learning environments where modern languages flourish’ - 99 partner schools registered

9 May 2017 (ECML)

The EOL ECML project “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” has already succeeded in recruiting 99 partner schools and teachers in ten different countries; we will continue to accept new partner schools until the end of July 2017.

This European network of project partner schools will not only support one another in developing innovative approaches to establishing language friendly learning environments through an exchange of relevant resources, research and practice, but will have dedicated support from the project team throughout the lifespan of their school projects.

Visit the ECML website for more information and to register to join the EOL network.

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Pupil's sign language address to Scottish Parliament

9 May 2017 (BBC)

A profoundly deaf Falkirk High School pupil has delivered the Scottish Parliament's Time for Reflection in sign language.

Jemma Skelding, 12, is the youngest person to deliver the address, which is the parliament's first item of business of the week in the chamber.

Miss Skelding said she was pleased be at Holyrood ahead of next week's Deaf Awareness Week.

She told MSPs her parents and an older sister were also deaf.

Miss Skelding shared her experiences of using sign language in the address, which was translated by Mary McDevitt.

She said she grew up using sign language at home and thought everyone could use it, until she attended her first nursery.

Miss Skelding said that her next nursery taught everyone sign language half a day a week.

She said: "This was a really happy time for me.

"I was with my friends and I just felt like everyone else, we played together and we laughed a lot, we even had special sign names for each other."

Miss Skelding said things changed in P3, and by the following year she was "unhappy and felt very lonely."

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Brexit leads to surge in Brits wanting to learn new language, data finds

8 May 2017 (The Independent)

The British public’s appetite for learning foreign languages has increased significantly after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, according to newly released data.

Languages app Lingvist says it has seen a 91 per cent increase in UK users since the EU referendum last June, having compared its user base during the nine months before the vote to its user base in the nine months after the vote.

The popularity of English-Spanish courses has grown by 427 per cent, according to the data, with English-French courses experiencing a 342 per cent increase in popularity amongst British users.

“With Brexit around the corner, the growing concerns around how the UK will be able to bridge the language skills gap have been brought to the fore,” said Lingvist co-founder and COO Ott Jalakas.

“Government statistics show that the UK is already losing £50bn a year due to poor language skills with an over-reliance on one language affecting business turnover, profitability and expansion to new markets.

“Our data shows that the UK is on the right path to bridge the language learning gap.”

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Support language attainment in class with a Modern Language Assistant

8 May 2017 (British Council)

Employing a British Council language assistant is a unique way to broaden your students understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness.

Language assistants are dynamic, enthusiastic native speakers of French, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese, and are usually undergraduates or recent graduates. As we recruit language assistants directly from their home countries, their language is up-to-date, the classroom resources they provide are relevant and authentic, and they will be well placed to connect with students on their own level . Simply put, employing a language assistant provides the kind of learning experience that cannot be found elsewhere.

In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 31 May 2017.

For more information and to apply visit the British Council website.

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MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.

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More sign language classes are to be held in Moffat due to demand

4 May 2017 (DNG24)

Resident Fiona Stewart, who is herself deaf, will lead the four sessions, starting on the evening of Wednesday May 17 and also running the 24 and 31 and June 7.

It comes after she hosted a successful initial introduction to British Sign Language (BSL) course earlier this year, attended by 50 people.

It was initiated by Catherine Jackson, whose children wanted to learn BSL.

She said: “The class was so popular that we ended up running two groups, both over four sessions. And there’s still a waiting list and requests for us to run more.”

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National 5 Modern Languages Course Specification

4 May 2017 (SQA)

SQA has just published the revised National 5 Course Specification.

This document contains important information about the changes to the Performance of Talking and the new Assignment-Writing.

The document can be accessed on the SQA website.

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Prince George has learnt to count in Spanish

3 May 2017 (The Telegraph)

Prince George can already count to ten in Spanish, the Duchess of Cambridge has disclosed, as she lifts the lid on their idyllic rural Good Life in Norfolk.

The Duchess said Prince George, who is not yet four, and Princess Charlotte, two, are both learning a second language, with the future king already cleverly picking it up.

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Scottish Education Awards 2017 - Finalists

2 May 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

Good luck to the Scottish Education Award finalists in the language categories!
Making languages come alive (primary)
  • Braehead Primary School, Stirling
  • Doune Primary School, Stirling
  • St Winning's Primary School, North Ayrshire
Gaelic Education Award / Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig
  • Ardnamurchan High School, Highland
  • Sgoil an Taobh Siar, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
  • Gartcosh Primary School, North Lanarkshire

The award presentations will take place on 7 June. For more information about the awards visit the Scottish Education Awards 2017 website.

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Japan Foundation Local Grant Programmes 2017-2018

2 May 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Japan Foundation London is now accepting grant applications for UK-based Japan related projects taking place in 2017-18 through local support programmes in the following fields:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Japanese Language
  • Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to apply.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

28 April 2017 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of professions where languages are being used.

Our latest addition comes from Charlie Foot, founder of Bili, the online language exchange platform for schools. Charlie explains how speaking to people in their own language creates opportunities for much deeper connections and cultural understanding.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

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French summer classes in Glasgow

27 April 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is holding a number of classes/exams during summer 2017. Follow the appropriate link below to find out more information:

To find out more about the Alliance Française, visit their website.

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uTalk takes language learning to new heights with Emirates, the world’s largest international airline

26 April 2017 (uTalk)

London-based language experts uTalk are helping passengers on Emirates Airline prepare for arrival with new inflight language videos. They’ve produced a series of films, which can be seen on all Emirates flights, giving travellers an introduction to five languages, with beginner lessons covering first words, food and drink and getting around.

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Business Brunch 2017 events webpage now live!

25 April 2017 (SCILT)

A series of five successful Business Brunch events organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland took place this year where 535 learners from S3-S6 were given the opportunity to hear from a wide range of exciting business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The events demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

Find out more about the events on our new Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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UCMLS 1+2 action plan published!

25 April 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

Following our final consultation with stakeholders at the national UCMLS conference in Glasgow on 10 March 2017 we have produced our cross-sector Action Plan in support of Scotland's 1+2 language policy, and it is now available online. Click below for more details but please REFRESH THE PAGE to get the latest version of the webpage!
Marion Spöring, UCMLS chair.

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Link with a German school

24 April 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Broaden your pupils' horizons and enhance your school's international dimension by linking with a German school. Find out how to set up and develop a partnership with a German school, including practical tips and advice on joint activities, projects and visits to Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

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Setting grade standards in A level modern foreign languages

21 April 2017 (UK Government)

Ofqual has today (21 April 2017) announced that it will take action this summer to ensure standards are set appropriately in A level French, German and Spanish.

The decision stems from new research, published by the regulator today, which suggests that awarding should take into account the fact that native language speakers take these subjects. The adjustment to grade standards will be decided in early summer. If the ability of the cohorts is similar to previous years we would anticipate small increases in the proportion of students getting top grades in each subject this August.

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Related Links

A-level language grades skewed by results of native speakers - study (The Guardian, 21 April 2017)

A-level language grades skewed by results of native speakers – study

21 April 2017 (The Guardian)

For years the British stereotype of Germans has been that they get the best of everything, from sun-loungers to football trophies – and now it seems they have been achieving the best A-level grades.

Research published by the exam regulator Ofqual has found that German-speaking children in the UK have been sitting A-level exams in their native language – and winning a disproportionate amount of A and A* grades on offer.

The Ofqual research estimated that about 17% of the students taking German A-levels in Britain may be native speakers, and gained about half of the top A* grades on offer – making it harder for non-native speakers sitting the exam.

The new research is good news for pupils taking this summer’s A-levels, with Ofqual suggesting it could increase the number of top grades it hands out, to ensure a level playing field between grades awarded in modern foreign languages and other subjects.

“If the ability of the cohorts is similar to previous years we would anticipate small increases in the proportion of students getting top grades in each subject this August,” Ofqual said in a statement.

The researchers found similar results in French and Spanish, with native speakers gaining higher than average GCSE scores. In Spanish, native speakers are almost 10 times more likely to achieve a grade A or A* than non-native speakers. Native-speaking Germans are 28 times more likely to achieve a grade A, and 11 times more likely to get an A*.

The research comes after complaints from leading schools that modern foreign languages are graded less generously than other subjects. But until now there has been no effort to account for native speakers as exam candidates.

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Public Consultation on the Third National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-22

21 April 2017 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

A public consultation process has been launched for the third National Gaelic Language Plan, 2017-2022. The plan sets out a strategy designed to grow the numbers learning and using Gaelic in Scotland.

The consultation period will close at 5pm on 17 May 2017.

Visit the Bòrd na Gàidhlig web survey to access the plan and take part in the consultation.

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New job profile on the SCILT website

21 April 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from David Rodger, Area Manager at Amazon Germany. He tells how people engage with you and realise you're on their side if you demonstrate the willingness to understand their language and culture.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

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Photo exhibition workshops for primary schools: “Objectif sport”

20 April 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is organising educational workshops around sport and the French language in May and June. Through games and activities in French, pupils will learn about sport, sporting events and the values attached to them.

The workshops are designed for primary school pupils and their teachers (P3/P6) who visit the photo exhibition and are free of charge.

See the attached flyer for more information and booking instructions.

Biscuits galore!

20 April 2017 (CISS)

For some S2 pupils from Elgin Academy, the term began with a busy and exciting visit to Walkers Shortbread HQ in Aberlour, Moray.

The pupils have been studying Mandarin since January with the support of the Hanban teacher Sufang Wang and under the guidance of Jerome Lestienne, PT of Modern Languages. The pupils presented to members of the International team from Walkers and the HR team. The presentations reflected what they had learnt so far, which included simple greetings, some numbers (and how to express numbers with hand gestures) and explanations of what is peculiar to the Chinese language such as learning tones, characters, etc.

The presentations also incorporated advice on effective “dos and don’ts” of Chinese Business Etiquette. These were well received by the International Team, who later explained they are increasingly doing business with China. It is now one of the top ten countries with whom they deal and in the near future will be opening an office in Shanghai.

Pupils were judged on presentation skills, clarity of delivery, content, structure and language skills. (The latter were judged by members from CISS and the Hanban teacher.) The winning group were generously rewarded with a prize and all pupils left with a goodie bag.

Pupils were asked questions by the team regarding how they found learning Chinese. They replied they had found it interesting and were grateful to have the chance to learn some Chinese whilst at school.

The Director of the International Team thanked them for the useful and stimulating presentations. He highlighted the fact that future employees with such knowledge would be most welcome for the company to employ.
Walkers' staff enjoying the presentationElgin Academy pupils presenting

All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

19 April 2017 (News Talk)

(Applies to Ireland) All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister.

The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert students studying a foreign language by 10%.

Chinese will be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject for the first time, while so-called 'heritage languages' such as Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese will get a proper curriculum.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Richard Bruton explained: "We are going to have to, post-Brexit, realise that one of the common weaknesses of English speaking countries - that we disregard foreign languages - has to be addressed in Ireland.

"We need now to trade in the growth areas - and many of those speak Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. Those are the languages that we need to learn to continue to trade successfully."

On the subject of Eastern European languages, he observed: "We now have many Lithuanians and Polish here, and we can develop those languages.

"We also need to use programmes like Erasmus - we want to increase our participation there by 50%. Clearly it has to become more immersed in the language.

"At the moment if you look at Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, French dominates. French is a lovely language, but we need to recognise that we need to diversify into other languages."

Read more...

Education Scotland Modern Languages newsletter - April 2017

18 April 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Modern Languages newsletter is now available.

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China visit a Scottish first for brass band

14 April 2017 (Guide and Gazette)

Carnoustie High School Brass Band will play in the People’s Republic of China following a concert they performed earlier this year in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow.

The concert was for the Confucius Institute for Scotland who were so impressed by their standard of playing that they set in motion a plan to have the youngsters visit China in a cultural exchange.

The institute contacted Donald Currie, headteacher at Carnoustie High School, and requested the band make the trip next year.

Carnoustie High is the Confucius Hub for Angus and the Confucius classrooms are hubs based in schools and serving the local community.

The hub concept promotes joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

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If Theresa May really wants to make Brexit a success, why is her Government making it so hard to learn a language?

13 April 2017 (The Independent)

I can still remember a conversation I had as a teenager about GCSE subject. I had the choice between doing Spanish or Geography. My late father was unequivocal: do Spanish because you have no idea how many doors another language will open for you. Three decades later I am still thankful for heeding his advice, given just how much of an influence it has had on my career and my personal life.

The Conservative Party political broadcast this week, and its 2017 local election campaign, talk about us becoming a new "Global Britain". But this Government is simultaneously failing to address the problem to achieving that ambition – that so many British people cannot speak a second language.

Boris Johnson enjoyed travelling the world to promote London at any opportunity when he was Mayor. But while Boris speaks very good French, as did Tony Blair, these politicians are hardly representative of the rest of the country. Our inability to speak other languages is an international joke which ranks as embarrassing as our perpetual failure to progress in international football tournaments. Three quarters of adults surveyed by YouGov back in 2013 admitted they were unable to hold a conversation in another major foreign language.

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Related Links

This is the best way to prepare kids for Brexit (The Independent, 15 April 2017)

Polish ambassador calls for Polish to be taught in Scottish schools

12 April 2017 (Press and Journal)

The Polish ambassador has called for his country’s language to be taught in Scottish schools.

Arkady Rzegocki said he had raised the issue with ministers since taking up his post last year.

He also told the Press and Journal that schools in Poland have “much more knowledge” about Britain and Scotland than their counterparts here.

Mr Rzegocki, who visited Scotland two weeks ago, said: “From my perspective it’s a really great opportunity and great chance because we need more information about Poland and about central Europe generally in British schools, in Scottish schools.

“And also the Polish language should be learned as a foreign language.”

He added: “This lack of knowledge is a real barrier from my perspective, a real barrier to better economical cooperation.

“It’s fair to say we have much, much more knowledge about Britain, about Scotland in Polish schools, in Poland, so we have to make it more equal.”

He also said he is trying to encourage more Polish people to visit Scotland and vice versa.

And he highlighted Polish Heritage Day next month, which he described as an opportunity for British and Polish people to learn more about each other’s history and customs.

Read more...

Related Links

Polish language advocates lament lack of classes (The Times, 14 April 2017)

Blantyre primary school children celebrate the language and culture of Spain

12 April 2017 (Daily Record)

St Joseph’s Primary School in Blantyre embraced the Scottish Government’s approach to modern languages learning by celebrating the language and culture of Spain last week.

During a dedicated Spanish week of events aimed at developing learners’ use of the Spanish language pupils learned about the Spanish culture and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide.

Learners participated in a range of stimulating experiences and opportunities which supported them in their journey towards Global Citizenship by enabling them to deepen and extend their knowledge and understanding of Spanish cities, food, music, dance, architecture, sport, famous people, festivals, film and media.

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Prepare British children for life after Brexit – teach them another language

10 April 2017 (The Conversation)

The formal negotiations to untangle the UK from the intricacies of the European Union are now well underway. And it is clear that looking forward, Britain’s new relationship with the EU will necessitate conducting trade and political communications in a new dynamic – one which is unlikely to be done in the medium of English.

When the UK leaves the EU there will be no member state remaining where English is the lead official language. “Ah”, you say, “what about Ireland, they speak English there”. Yes they do, but in Ireland, Irish Gaelic is considered the first official language.

So to trade with the EU, the UK will need high-level negotiators fluent in German, French and Spanish, which it currently does not have.

Additionally, leaving the EU will result in a restriction of immigrants from across EU member states. The need for visas will drastically reduce the number of workers who can come to the UK to fill jobs British people are either unwilling or unable to do.

And recognising this gap, the Foreign and Common Wealth office and the Ministry of Defence have opened in-house training centres to provide lessons in up to 80 different languages for their staff.

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Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme

10 April 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation London is looking for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education. You can apply for up to £3,000.

We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:
  1. Introducing Japanese into the curriculum at a primary or secondary school
  2. Supporting GCSE or A-level Japanese courses
  3. Introducing Japanese extracurricular club or enrichment subject at a primary or secondary school
The next deadline for the 2017-18 programme is 27 April 2017.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to submit your application.

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Dingwall Academy's pioneering sign language work hailed at Holyrood

2 April 2017 (Ross-shire Journal)

Dingwall Academy’s leadership in promoting British Sign Language (BSL) has been applauded by the Scottish Parliament – after the school was highly praised by Strathpeffer-based MSP, Maree Todd.

She used the recent debate on the consultation on the Draft BSL National Plan to highlight the initiative of Dingwall Academy’s unit. During her speech, she used BSL to welcome former Dingwall Academy pupil, Caitlin Bogan, who was watching the debate from the viewing gallery.

The MSP later said: “We should all be proud of what is being done in the Highlands. Dingwall Academy is one of the few schools to deliver a BSL unit – all students in first year, including my son Gregor this year, take BSL classes as a taster along with other languages, including French, Gaelic and German.

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New job profile on the SCILT website

31 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from Jane Robb, PhD student at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. Jane has studied several languages, including French, German and Spanish and says her Spanish language skills enable her to conduct fieldwork and live and work in Guatemala.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Read more...

Call for applications - Trends in Translation

30 March 2017 (ALL)

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the French Embassy in London, the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are looking for the next generation of translators into English.

Higher Education Institutions across the UK are being invited to nominate their most promising undergraduate student(s) to take part in a one-day exclusive Masterclass in Translation to be held at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, on Thursday, 27th April 2017 with the opportunity for two Masterclass students to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair this year.

This call is open to undergraduate students only. Students must have a proficiency in either German or French (Level B1 and higher, according to CEFR). A combination of the two languages is very welcome but not required.

The candidates and the nominators are asked to complete the application form and send it electronically to application@lond.diplo.de by Tuesday 18 April 2017.

For full terms and conditions, visit the Association for Language Learning (ALL) website.

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Japanese for young learners - 6 week teacher course

30 March 2017 (Japanese for Young Learners project)

This course, organised by the Japanese for Young Learners Projects, aims to introduce teachers to Japanese language and culture for use in the classroom. Teachers will be introduced to Japanese language for beginners and to cultural learning activities such as origami and Japanese food.

The course will include developing literacy in Japanese and an introduction to Japanese reading and writing - easier than you think!

The course is being delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Japan Foundation, UK. It takes place over six weeks, commencing Thursday 20 April.

Visit the website to register for this free professional development opportunity and see the press article below relating to the project's pilot in Liberton Primary School, Edinburgh.

Read more...

Related Links

Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot (Edinburgh Evening News, 27 March 2017)

Online Spanish Courses for Primary and Secondary School Teachers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and PGDE students

30 March 2017 (Consejería de Educación)

The Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK offer Spanish Online Courses for Primary and Secondary School Teachers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and PGDE students through Aula Virtual de Español Global (AVE Global), an interactive platform specifically designed by the Instituto Cervantes for the teaching and learning of Spanish.

The course is suitable for those with or without previous knowledge of Spanish.

The next course commences 10 April 2017 and lasts for 11 weeks.

Visit the Instituto Cervantes website for more information and to enrol.

Read more...

How London's Goethe-Institut is fighting for foreign languages amidst Brexit

29 March 2017 (Deutsche Welle)

What does Brexit mean for language-learning and cultural exchange in the UK? The head of London's Goethe-Institut told DW that the impact is already being felt - but she remains optimistic for the future.

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ECML online questionnaire "Language in subjects"

27 March 2017 (ECML)

This online questionnaire is part of an ECML project called "Developing language awareness in subject classes". It targets subject teachers (mathematics, history, science, physical education etc.) and teacher trainers who:
  • are experienced in teaching students at the age of 12/13 with a different language background, and/or
  • take an interest in developing their students’ academic, subject specific language.
It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Visit the ECML website to access the questionnaire.

Read more...

French at the Alliance Française in Glasgow

27 March 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française has a number of upcoming opportunities for French language learners in Glasgow. Follow the relevant link below for more information:
  • Spring Break Revision Classes April 2017 (3-7 April) - preparation courses for pupils sitting Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher French this year and University students due to sit exams later this year.
  • Easter workshop for primary school pupils (3-7 April) - children will learn about French language and culture through fun Easter-themed activities.
  • Term D adult courses now enrolling - classes available at all levels from Beginner to Advanced, along with specialised courses such as Conversation, Current Affairs, Grammar and Phonetics. New term commences 18 April 2017.
  • New adult classes - Beginners, Lunchtime Conversation Class, Phonetics Class, Grammar Class commencing from 18 April 2017.

For further information about the Alliance Française and their full range of activities, visit their website.

Read more...

Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot

27 March 2017 (Edinburgh Evening News)

They already love manga, Pokemon and Nintendo and now schoolchildren in the Capital have been given the chance to learn about the language behind some of their favourite pastimes.

Liberton Primary School has become a language trailblazer thanks to a new scheme designed to introduce youngsters to Japanese from an early age.

The Japanese for Young Learners project has seen two P5 classes give the language a go, as well as learning about the history and culture of the far eastern country.

While Liberton already teaches a number of other languages – such as French, German, Spanish and Mandarin – it is the first Edinburgh primary school in many years to add Japanese to its offering.

Read more...

Les Resultats ! Le Quiz de la Francophonie

24 March 2017 (Institut français / Canadian High Commission)

The Canadian High Commission in London, who organised the Quiz de la francophonie this year, have just announced the names of the winning schools who are all from Scotland!

Congratulations to:
  1. Sir E. Scott School ( Les Gateaux Gris)
  2. Mid Yell JHS ( Les Petits Crofters)
  3. Westhill Academy ( les Grenouilles 2 E)
Thank you to all participants and well done to the winning schools who will receive their prizes in due course.

Jackie Kay celebrates pupils’ multilingual poetry success

24 March 2017 (SCILT)

The multilingual talents of budding young poets from across Scotland were celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony in Glasgow. Jackie Kay, Scotland's Makar, presented the prizes.

Primary and secondary students from Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Lothian used their language skills to create and share poetry for this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition. Winners received their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SEC Glasgow on Saturday 11 March 2017 as part of the wider Languages Show Live Scotland event. Their work is published in an anthology.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an exciting project which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing and showcases the many languages which are used by children and young people across Scotland, in school and at home. The competition is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at University of Strathclyde. Jackie Kay is the patron of the competition.

One teacher said of the event: “Taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition was a very worthwhile endeavour. Pupils really enjoyed creating poems in another language and interesting language based discussions were generated. The emphasis on celebrating all languages from across the globe was a great message to share with pupils and they especially enjoyed mixing their own language with the languages they are learning at school. We will definitely be taking part again next year.”

Whilst one of the pupils summed up their feelings: “I feel happy, proud and special.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, says: “Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a celebration of the many languages that are spoken and learned by children and young people across Scotland. The collection of their poems weaves a rich tapestry of voices that honours cultural diversity and pays testament to the wealth of Scotland’s many languages and cultures. We were delighted to see such a high calibre of entries this year, submitted in 35 different languages. Our congratulations go to the winners and to all who took part in the competition.”

Mother Tongue invites children who do not speak English as a first language to write a poem, rap or song in their mother tongue and share their inspiration. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to use that language creatively with an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. Prizes are awarded in both categories.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue supports the Scottish Government initiative, ‘Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach’ by allowing pupils to apply their language learning in a creative way. The competition provides children who do not have English as their first language an opportunity to celebrate their mother tongue.

The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. Through reflecting on poetry in their mother tongue and creating poetry in another tongue, learners are developing their literacy skills.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is supported by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland, creative writer Juliette Lee and the Scottish Poetry Library.

Details of the winners and the anthology are published on the SCILT website.
MTOT 2016-17 winners with Jackie Kay

Read more...

Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks

23 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

The Benchmarks in modern languages provide clarity on the national standards expected from first to fourth curricular level.

They draw together and streamline a wide range of previous assessment guidance (including significant aspects of learning, progression frameworks and annotated exemplars) into one key resource to support teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgement of children’s and young people’s progress.

The Benchmarks will also support consistency in teachers’ professional judgements and will help teachers to ensure that young people achieve the pace of progress they need right across the Broad General Education.

The Benchmarks can be accessed on Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub along with Benchmarks exemplification to support practitioners to use the Benchmarks.

Read more...

4th Castilla y León Award

24 March 2017 (Consejería de Educación)

Each year the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Embassy in the United Kingdom, with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Junta de Castilla y León, awards the student with the best results in Spanish in the United Kingdom.

The winner will receive a 3-day (2-night) trip to Castilla y León (Spain) for two people, including travel, accommodation, meals and visits.

For more information see the attached leaflet or visit the Consejería de Educación website. Applications should be submitted by 28 April 2017.

Read more...

Summary of SQA Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages

23 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty.

They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.

Read more...

Mary Glasgow invites language students to get their work published!

23 March 2017 (Mary Glasgow Magazines)

Calling all language teachers! Get your students' French, Spanish, German or English writing published on the Mary Glasgow Magazines website.

One of the most popular features of the website is Student News. We publish articles and videos sent by students from around the world who want to share their stories, interests and culture with peers. Students earn points for their stories and comments for a chance to win a prize.

Visit the website to find out more information and to read some sample stories.

Read more...

Consultation on Erasmus+

20 March 2017 (Erasmus+)

The March 2017 edition of the Erasmus+ newsletter invites organisations and individuals to complete a questionnaire to share experiences and opinions to help shape how the programme might look after 2020.

The newsletter also contains news on upcoming events and activities.

Read more...

New job profile on SCILT's website

17 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Lynn Sheppard, Masters Student and travel writer, former English teacher, diplomat and civil servant.

Lynn tells how languages have not only helped in all her diverse job roles, but in developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships around the globe. Language skills have given her a cultural insight into how others think and behave.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read more...

Gaelic e-bulletin

17 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland's March e-bulletin for Gaelic education is now available online.

Read more...

Learning a language should be compulsory in schools, says report

16 March 2017 (BBC News)

(Applies to Northern Ireland) Learning a foreign language should be made compulsory in primary schools here, a new report has said.

In Northern Ireland, learning a second language is not a statutory part of the primary school curriculum.

In England and Scotland, by contrast, primary school pupils are expected to learn a foreign language.

The review of primary languages in Northern Ireland has been carried out by researchers from Stranmillis University College. The authors surveyed language learning at over 100 schools.

They found that Spanish and French were most popular in schools where languages were taught. Some pupils also learned German or Mandarin.

However, not all primary schools taught an additional language.

This led the authors to conclude that there was "a lack of equity in provision for children" across the country.

Read more...

Summary of SQA Course Reports for Higher and AH Modern Languages 2016

16 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty.

They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.

Read more...

Trilingual music project hits the right notes in schools

15 March 2017 (British Council)

A pilot project called Listening to Language/ Cerdd Iaith, which aims to encourage language learning using music as a resource, is being delivered in ten primary schools across South West Wales. The trilingual music project addresses the decline of language learning in Wales.

Led by BBC National Orchestra of Wales, British Council Wales, ERW (Education through Regional Working) and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, musicians from the orchestra alongside language specialists have been working with teachers in schools across Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion to develop creative approaches to learning Welsh, Spanish and English.

The project, which is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, looks at how musical elements of language such as rhythm, repetition and rhyme can aid learning. The workshops are encouraging pupils to listen to the sounds of languages, to enhance the process of developing and understanding new vocabulary.

Read more...

Should pupils have to learn sign language?

15 March 2017 (BBC News)

"When I meet hearing children who can sign, I feel happy and confident," says Emmanuel, seven.

"I want to teach everyone British sign language - the whole world."

Faiza, 11, says: "If children learnt more sign, it would mean I'd try to play with them more. Communication would be easier.

"If my hearing friends didn't sign, I would feel lonely and sad."

For these deaf children at Blanche Nevile School in north London, helping hearing peers learn British sign language (BSL) is a chance to break down barriers and make new friends.
Their school shares a site with Highgate Primary School, and the schools work in partnership so that deaf and hearing children can learn alongside each other.

While BSL was recognised as a language in its own right 14 years ago, it is not included in the national curriculum in England.

Now, an online petition set up by Wayne Barrow, who grew up with deaf parents, is aiming to change that.

Read more...

Related Links

Should hearing children learn sign language? (BBC News, 15 March 2017) - meet school pupils learning to sign and learning alongside deaf children (video report)

Sign language costs 'too high' for some families
(BBC News, 15 March 2017)

Watch as MP uses British Sign Language in the House of Commons (Daily Mirror, 16 March 2017)

MP Dawn Butler praised for using sign language in Commons (BBC News, 16 March 2017)

Language Show Live Scotland 2017

14 March 2017 (SCILT)

Thank you to everyone who came to see us at Language Show Live Scotland at the SEC last weekend! It was a fabulous event and great to meet so many teachers, pupils and language professionals and to find out how we can help support you all in learning, teaching and promoting languages. If you left an enquiry with us, we’re currently working our way through these and you should have a response within the next week or two, if you haven’t had one already.

We were so proud of our Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry winners who came along to the event and recited their poems for us on Saturday morning. Thank you so much to the teachers who took this initiative forward in school and of course to all the pupils who took part. We will be uploading the winners’ anthology and photos from the event to the website in due course, so keep watching the bulletin for updates on this.

If you didn’t make it along, our PDO Lynne Jones provides a flavour of the show in this video:

Teachers ‘ill-prepared’ for primary language strategy

14 March 2017 (The Herald)

Teachers have warned an ambitious strategy to expand language learning in Scottish primary schools lacks direction.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said training for school staff was variable and had led to lower confidence levels in some areas.

The criticism centres on the Scottish Government’s flagship 1+2 languages policy under which primary pupils are to be taught at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue, starting in the first year of schooling and adding a second foreign language no later than P5.

The government has argued primaries should incorporate as large a pool of languages as possible, including Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish.

However, critics say schools and teacher training universities need a much smaller group of languages to focus on to ensure continuity of study and expertise among staff.

In a letter to councils, Andrea Bradley, EIS assistant secretary for education, said information from primary teachers had identified training that was not of a consistently appropriate standard.

She said members had highlighted a “lack of direction” as to which languages would be taught at which stage as well as “variable quality of teachers’ experience of training course delivery”.

She also said there was “inconsistency” in the duration of training courses and therefore inconsistency in “outcomes for our members in terms of their levels of confidence to teach foreign languages”.

She added: “The EIS therefore calls upon all local authorities to work with Scottish Government to address the issues that are raised here, with a view to ensuring coherence of approach and adequate resourcing in order that the worthy aims of the policy can be met.”

The concerns were echoed by Gillian Campbell-Thow, chairwoman of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching.

Read more...

Related Links

SALT's response to EIS (SALT, 15 March 2017)

The Junior Language Challenge 2017

14 March 2017 (Junior Language Challenge)

Calling all Scottish primary schools! The Junior Language Challenge is the UK’s only language challenge for primary schools, introducing children to new, exciting languages and encouraging them to become independent learners, while raising money for charity. The first language this year is French.

There are great prizes to be won, including a family holiday to Africa!

Visit the JLC website to find out more and to register a school or an individual. (Please note there is an entry charge per child with all proceeds going to the educational charity, onebillion).

Read more...

Chinese L3 resources

13 March 2017 (CISS)

In order to build capacity for L3 in Scottish schools throughout Scotland, CISS has focused on developing a variety of resources. The latest L3 materials can be used to support the introduction of Mandarin as the L3 by using stimulating cultural contexts, whilst carefully building in progression. They are the first of a series of L3 resources which will support non-specialist Chinese teachers – including complete beginners! – as well as specialist Chinese teachers. The resources favour a gentle progression and will help practitioners embed Chinese into their learning context. These resources can be used as stand-alone resources or in conjunction with The Happy Emperor ebooks 1-5.

Read more...

SALT schools competition 2017

11 March 2017 (SALT)

There are four categories in this years competition: Primary & BGE, National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher.

The theme is I love Languages Because and students can submit their entries in any format (PowerPoint, poster, song, poem, etc).

Visit the SALT website for further information and to submit entries by 26 May 2017.

Read more...

Emotional celebration of Perth Polish Saturday School's 10th year in the Fair City

10 March 2017 (Daily Record)

A school in Perth has been hailed for keeping Polish children and those with connections to the eastern European community in touch with their history and culture.

The Perth Polish Saturday School celebrated its 10th anniversary and a special ‘Jubilee’ reception was held at North Inch Community Campus on March 4.

On Saturdays the school based at St John’s Academy teaches Polish history, geography, culture and language from 10.30am to 1.30pm.

Many children from Polish families have been born in the Fair City and the school provides them with a link to their family’s origins.

They learn nursery rhymes, songs and poems which keep their culture alive, as well as mastering the notoriously difficult Polish spellings and grammar.

Read more...

Cash-strapped schools axing classes and cutting back on trips, headteachers say

10 March 2017 (The Independent)

Schools are being forced to scrap GCSE and A-level courses, increase class sizes and cut back on trips and after-school clubs as a result of a funding crisis, headteachers have warned.

Design and technology, languages and arts are among the subjects being dropped as schools struggle to deal with severe budget pressures, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

In a new report, based on a poll of more than 1,000 members, the union warned that pressure to cut costs is having an impact on all areas of school life.

Interim general secretary Malcolm Trobe said school leaders are being forced to make “impossible choices”.

The Government has argued that school funding is at its highest ever level.

Read more...

Related Links

Warning over schools axing courses amid funding crisis (ITV News, 10 March 2017) - Of the language course cuts, German in particular is suffering.

New job profile on SCILT's website

10 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have a range of Job Profiles on our website designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from Kirsten Matthews, a Distillery Tour Guide and Public Service Interpreter. Kirsten tells us her language skills make it possible for her to perform a service and to help people in her roles.

You can see Kirsten's profile on our website.

Read more...

Pupils celebrate success at multilingual poetry competition

9 March 2017 (Renfrewshire 24)

Six bilingual pupils from Renfrewshire have scooped up awards at a national poetry competition for their creative writing talents.

Of the 14 awards up for grabs through the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ competition run by SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, six were awarded to pupils from St John Ogilvie Primary School, St James Primary School and Castlehead High School, who had written poetry in their native tongue in order to share their “other voices”.

Renfrewshire EAL (English as an additional language) teachers helped support bilingual pupils to create a collection of poems written in languages such as; Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Punjabi, Catalan, Arabic, Greek, Filipino, Korean and Dutch.

Read more...

Mapping Chinese survey

9 March 2017 (SCEN)

At the meeting of Confucius Institute Directors last year, we all decided that it would be a great help if we shared information about the teaching and learning of Mandarin at all levels in Scotland. We want to map all the opportunities to learn Chinese accurately, and to share it with everyone to help with productive links between schools, colleges, universities and businesses.

We would like to invite primary and secondary school teachers to complete our online survey to help gather this data.

Visit the SCEN website for the survey link. Please complete by 31 March 2017.

Read more...

Glasgow says ‘fáilte’ to a new Gaelic primary school

9 March 2017 (The Herald)

Soaring demand for Gaelic education in Scotland’s largest city has led to the need for a third primary school.

Glasgow City Council is recommending a formal consultation on a new school because the two existing primaries are already full with demand expected to grow.

The increasing numbers of primary pupils in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) also means there is a need to ensure enough places are available at secondary.

Read more...

Related Links

Call for third Gaelic school in Glasgow (BBC News, 10 March 2017)

Glasgow needs new Gaelic school amid growing demand (The Scotsman, 10 March 2017)

UK-German Connection initiatives for schools

7 March 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German connection have the following opportunities they'd like teachers and schools to be aware of:
  1. What do you need now? Have your say.
    It’s now more important than ever to maintain connections with Europe. With this in mind, we’re reviewing the opportunities and support we offer schools and are asking teachers for their input on what schools currently need in order to keep links with Germany alive. We’ve put together a short questionnaire for you to have your say and would be grateful for your feedback. Complete the survey.

  2. Plastic Pirates
    There’s now another chance for UK and German partner schools to apply for funding to get together in Germany and undertake research on Germany’s rivers and oceans.

The teaching of Arabic language and cultures in UK schools

7 March 2017 (British Council / Alcantara Communications)

This report was commissioned by the British Council in March 2016 as part of its Arabic Language and Culture programme, which is now in its fourth year. It builds on previous research undertaken by Alcantara Communications and published as The teaching of Arabic Language and Culture in UK Schools. As a result of this initial research, the British Council developed and tailored its programme, continued to build its contacts with stakeholders in the field, and commissioned further in-depth research into key themes identified. These were contracted as separate strands, since they required different types of expertise. This report covers Strand 2 of the research: ‘Review of the teaching of Arabic language and culture in UK schools’.

Read more...

From busuu to Babble, language-learning startups adapt to thrive

7 March 2017 (The Guardian)

Language learning is big business. Each year, students coming to study English in the UK contribute £2bn to the economy. It’s also a market suited to the flexibility of mobile learning and, sure enough, language learning apps are seeking to fill the gaps – more than 350 are listed on the Apple App Store alone.

But language tech isn’t an easy space in which to succeed. Rapid changes in technology have meant that its startups have had to adapt to survive, as Bernhard Niesner, co-founder of busuu, can attest.

Originally from Austria, Niesner had always loved languages: he learned Spanish and travelled in Latin America before undertaking an MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid. There he met Adrian Hilti, originally from Switzerland. It was 2008, Facebook was expanding rapidly, and the two wondered if they could combine technology and learning a language with social media.

So busuu, named after a Cameroonian language, was born, teaching users with interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers.

Read more...

Singapore student inspired by the pipes teaches himself Gaelic

6 March 2017 (BBC)

A student from Singapore has taught himself Gaelic after being inspired by learning to play the pipes.

Chi-Yan Lew has now travelled to study a term at Glasgow University and is making good use of his new language.

See the video report on the BBC website.

Read more...

“My language learning hurdles” competition

3 March 2017 (Open University)

Make a short video explaining what you consider your biggest hurdles to language learning and you could win up to £150 in Amazon UK gift vouchers.

We want to hear what you find most difficult about language learning, especially when you start learning a new language. We are looking for well thought-out answers with specific examples of your language learning experience, or maybe good one-liners that showcase some of the difficulties that you have faced in the following areas:
  1. Your motivation for learning a new language
  2. Managing your expectations when starting to learn a new language
  3. Coping with grammar and grammatical terminology
  4. Creating (and sticking to) a learning routine
  5. Practising speaking (as a beginner)
  6. Listening (as a beginner)
  7. Learning vocabulary (as a beginner)
  8. Reading (as a beginner)
  9. Writing (as a beginner)
  10. Finding, evaluating and selecting resources to support learning for beginners
  11. Immersing yourself in the language when not in an area where it is spoken
  12. Getting support from others (including online communities
  13. Keeping your motivation going in the medium to long term
Your video must cover only one of these areas, but you are welcome to submit a video for each of the topics that are relevant to you.

Your video must be no longer than 30 seconds and must be in English.

Visit the Open University website to find out more and how to submit your entry by 17 March 2017.

Read more...

Just 1 Week Until Doors Open on Language Show Scotland 2017!

3 March 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow.

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 week away and new performances are still being announced every day, with salsa classes and an additional Gaelic introduction class added today! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more! Take advantage of our pre-show discount on our Language Plus Classes too. These two hour intensive classes are the only thing at the event that we charge for as we bring in some of the world’s top teachers and charge just £18 for the full two hours. Don’t miss out!

Visit the Language Show Live website today!

Read more...

New Job Profile on the SCILT website

3 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

Working on conservation projects around the globe, Sandie explains how knowing even a little of a language is respectable and polite when working with colleagues worldwide.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read more...

Visit the French Zone at Language Show Scotland in Glasgow

3 March 2017 (Institut français)

The French Zone is happy to welcome you to Stand 208 at Language Show Live, 10-11 March 2017, and to offer you a variety of French resources from the Institut français and other key actors of French teaching and learning.

Visit the Institut français website for more information.

Read more...

French at the Alliance Française de Glasgow

2 March 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française has a number of upcoming opportunities for French language learners in Glasgow. Follow the relevant link below for more information:

To find out more about the Alliance Française and all their activities, visit their website.

Read more...

Articulate Language Camps 2017

1 March 2017 (Articulate Language Camps)

Articulate Language Camps run an International Camp (12-17 year olds) and Launch Camp (6-11 year olds) each summer in Scotland.

The International camp brings together young people aged 12-17 from across Europe and beyond to share their language and culture and provides the opportunity to learn French, Spanish, German, Italian or English.

The Launch camp gives young campers the chance to experience the same languages in a fun and interactive way, learning through digital media projects and outdoor activities.

Find out more in the Articulate Language Camps videos on YouTube where you will also find links to their online brochure and registration form. Follow the relevant link below for more information about each camp:
You can find out more about Articulate Language Camps by visiting their main website.

Read more...

Fairtrade Fortnight

28 February 2017 (SCILT / Traidcraft)

#mfltwitterati it’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Please tweet @scottishcilt and @FairtradeUKEd the lesson ideas and resources that you’re using with your learners as a meaningful context for language learning #Fairtrade.

We’ve already found these from @traidcraft, tell us what you think.
  • Explore the world of cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire with a range of teaching resources for learners of French at 2nd level, 3rd level and in the Senior Phase.
  • Explore a range of resources relating to Apicoop - honey and blueberry producers in Chile. Aimed at 2nd level learners of Spanish materials include a poster, an advert and a game.

Read more...

Younger is not always better when it comes to learning a second language

27 February 2017 (The Conversation)

It’s often thought that it is better to start learning a second language at a young age. But research shows that this is not necessarily true. In fact, the best age to start learning a second language can vary significantly, depending on how the language is being learned.

The belief that younger children are better language learners is based on the observation that children learn to speak their first language with remarkable skill at a very early age.

Before they can add two small numbers or tie their own shoelaces, most children develop a fluency in their first language that is the envy of adult language learners.

Read more...

Vive la francophonie 2017

27 February 2017 (Institut français)

Each year the embassies of the francophone countries organise a UK-wide quiz for S2 and S3 students entitled Vive la francophonie. This year's competition will take place on 13 March.

It is simple for schools to take part:
  1. Enrol your team
  2. The quiz will be online on 13 March any time from 10am to 2pm. It should take maximum an hour to answer the questions.
The top 3 teams with the most answers right, in the shortest time, wins!

Visit the website to find out more about the competition and to register your students by 8 March.

Read more...

Language Show Live Scotland 2017

24 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

There's still time to get your tickets for this year's Language Show Live Scotland event at the SEC, Glasgow!

The event, dedicated to language teaching and learning, is just a fortnight away and all programme details, teaching seminars and language classes are now live online. Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content.

For full programme details and to register, visit the Language Show Live website. Don't miss out!

Read more...

What it's like to study a modern languages degree

23 February 2017 (Times Higher Education)

Are modern language degrees becoming obsolete? Absolutely not, say these four modern languages students.

Read more...

Do we need modern language graduates in a globalised world?

23 February 2017 (THE)

Six academics offer their views on the state of language learning in a populist climate.

Read more...

UK-German Connection latest news

21 February 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of opportunities for schools in the UK and Germany to develop and maintain partnerships. In their latest Spring 2017 newsletter they highlight the following:
  • With the changing landscape of international relations, we want to make sure we're still offering you the right kind of support to keep your connections with Germany alive.We're currently reviewing the opportunities and services we offer and would like to invite you to tell us what you need now for your schools and pupils. Complete the short survey.
  • Deadline reminder of 1 March for applications for the following summer courses in Germany:

For upcoming deadlines for the rest of the school year, download our calendar of opportunities for 2016-17.

For further information about UK-German Connection and their activities, visit their website.

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Cappuccino with extra Italian? Pop-up classes bring a buzz to adult learning

21 February 2017 (The Guardian)

It’s a rainy February evening in a Costa coffee shop in East Putney, south-west London. The shop is closed to the public but a group of men and women are gathered there, drinking coffee and practising Italian phrases with teacher Alessandro Fantauzzo. Two are here for work reasons, others to build their language confidence for holidays.

In the past, they might have gone to a night class at a local adult education college. But over the past decade, funding for courses that don’t lead to a formal qualification has been slashed. Since 2010, the adult learning budget has been cut by about 40%, meaning the days when adults could learn flower arranging, languages or guitar at their local college in the evenings – for a subsidised fee or even free – are long gone.

It was this that gave former teacher and social entrepreneur Jason Elsom the idea of offering night classes in coffee shops. Approached by the coffee chain Costa to help develop its charitable foundation, which aims to extend education opportunities, he suggested it offer space in its shops for tutors and their students.

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Brian Wilson: Crunch time now for BBC Alba, a Scottish success story

20 February 2017 (The Scotsman)

The Gaelic TV channel reaches far beyond those who speak the language, and can get even better if it is given proper support says Brian Wilson.

Issues surrounding the BBC Charter and its implications for broadcasting are likely to gain a high profile in the coming weeks. It would be a pity if, in the political melee, a quiet Scottish success story was overlooked – BBC Alba.

Although its raison d’etre is as a Gaelic broadcaster, BBC Alba reaches 700,000 viewers each week. It accounts for half the commissions in Scotland from independent production companies. It offers a steady stream of quality programmes which would not otherwise be made, mainly on Scottish subjects.

By any standard of media accounting, BBC Alba has achieved all this on a shoestring budget. It broadcasts for seven hours daily but only 1.9 are filled with original content, including news and live sport. The rest consists of repeats, delving deep not only into BBC Alba’s own modest archive but the entire previous output of Gaelic television.

Some of these, it must be said, are very good. The BBC Gaelic department has a history of producing current affairs programmes in particular where quality was in inverse proportion to quantity. However, there are limits to how often viewers in any language should be asked to endure fascinating throw-backs to the 1970s and 1980s.

The current funding review is a crunch point for BBC Alba. It will either survive at its present level or extend its repertoire and role. There is a particular need, from a language perspective, for more children’s programmes and also a more consistent standard of popular entertainment. The channel’s supporters are sensibly realistic in their demands, which may give them a better chance of being listened to.

Read more...

Related Links

BBC Launching Scotland Channel With $37.4M Budget (Deadline, 22 February 2017)

Language Rights Need to be at the Center of Global Policy

20 February 2017 (Diplomatic Courier)

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.

More than 50 percent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 percent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, the promotion of education for all and the development of knowledge societies are central to UNESCO’s work. But they are not possible without broad and international commitment to promoting multilingualism and linguistic diversity, including the preservation of endangered languages.

While the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has signed an agreement with the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to measure global citizenship and sustainable development education, the persistent marginalization of mother languages worldwide is threatening Goal 4 of the UN for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Agenda 2030 includes seven targets in Goal 4 that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The seventh target – Goal 4.7 – obliges the international community to ensure that in the next 15 years “all learners (would) acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.

UNESCO relates global citizenship to the empowerment of learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world.

But the chances that Goal 4.7 would be achieved are rather bleak unless adequate steps are taken urgently. The reason can be deduced from some important data released by the UNESCO on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21.

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Learn French at the Institut français d'Ecosse

17 February 2017 (Institut français d'Ecosse)

The Institut français offers classes and workshops for all ages (toddlers to adults), from complete beginners to fluent speakers.

Enrolment is open for Spring term classes beginning in April.

Students undertaking National 5, Highers and Advanced Highers can also register for a preparation course running 3-7 April.

Visit the website for full details and to enrol.

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The Junior Language Challenge 2017

17 February 2017 (Junior Language Challenge)

The Junior Language Challenge is the UK’s only language challenge for primary schools, inspiring a love of languages at a young age and encouraging children to become independent learners, while raising money for charity.

The JLC 2017 will open on 10 March, but registration starts now - visit the website sign-up pages to register a school or an individual. (Please note there is an entry charge per child with all proceeds going to the onebillion charity).

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 February 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Katie Targett-Adams, a professional singer and harpist currently based in Hong Kong. Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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Midlothian foreign language students settle in

12 February 2017 (Midlothian Advertiser)

Following the success of the French Modern Language Assistant (MLAs) last year, Midlothian has been lucky enough to employ six MLAs again this year.

They are working across all 32 primary schools, assisting with the implementation of the 1+2 initiative which means that French is being taught in all our primary schools from P1 to P7. Staff have already seen an increase in the confidence and language skills of teachers as well as enthusiasm and progress from pupils!

The MLAs completed a diary of their first impressions and experiences, excerpts of which are below.

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Agenda: So much to be gained from young people learning modern languages

12 February 2017 (Sunday Herald)

Does language learning have a place in the Scottish curriculum? Yes. Are modern languages and their teachers under pressure in secondary schools? Yes. Has there been a better opportunity for promoting language learning in our schools ? No.

Language learning has a vital place in Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) on a learner journey from 3-18 but in a manner that does not see it as the preserve of the secondary school.

It has always baffled me that traditionally in Scotland, given its place in Europe, we started language learning so late in a child’s development.

The earlier we expose children to learning languages, the better their chance is of seeing this as something that is just part of their culture.

From a child development point of view, there’s much research to confirm that children are more receptive educationally and emotionally to language learning from an early age.

They soak it up and acquire language skills at a great pace. We know that bilingualism not only helps the cognitive development of the child but also that children who are in bilingual education such as Gaelic Medium Education also attain and achieve at least as well as, in many cases better, than their monoglot peers. They are fluent in two languages and are learning a third by the age of 11. In addition, there is another plus to early exposure to acquiring additional languages; most parents like it, understand it and support schools that promote it.

The Scottish Government-led 1+2 languages programme is a long-term policy commitment started in 2011 due to run until 2021, aimed at making it normal for all children and young people in Scotland to learn languages from primary one.

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Gaelic Translation Competition!

10 February 2017 (Education Scotland)

This translation competition is open to all children and young people in both Gaelic Learner and Gaelic Medium Education.

There are nine English and eight Gaelic posters of Scotland’s scientists available on the National Improvement Hub. One of the Gaelic posters is missing- Alexander Graham Bell.

Children and young people are invited to translate a short biography on Alexander Graham Bell into Gaelic. This is an exciting opportunity to have your work shared nationally and to feature alongside the other eight scientist biographies available on the National Improvement Hub. Your work could support learners of Gaelic across Scotland.

For more information visit the Education Scotland Learning Blog. Entries should be submitted by 3 March 2017.

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New Content Announcement for Language Show Scotland 2017!

10 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 month away and the teaching seminar, TEFL forum and language class line ups have all been announced and are now live online! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more!
Language Show Live Scotland logo

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UCML and others send Brexit letter

10 February 2017 (UCML)

This letter has been written by a number of heads of UK modern languages and linguistics subject associations, including UCML, and endorsed by several others. It will be sent to the media and a number of leading UK politicians.

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Statutory guidance on Gaelic Education published

10 February 2017 (TESS)

Statutory guidance on Gaelic education has been published, spelling out the process that will allow parents under law to request a Gaelic unit for their child. Another key document has also been published: the public consultation on the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017–2022 runs until 6 May.

Read the full item in TESS online, 10 February 2017, under the 'A week in primary' section (subscription required).

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MTOT 2016-17 winners announced!

10 February 2017 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland. We had a wonderful variety of entries and appreciated the creative effort that went into the submissions.

Selecting the finalists for this year's anthology was incredibly difficult for the judges. However, after considerable deliberation, we're pleased to now be able to announce the winners in each category along with highly commended entries which will also feature in the MTOT anthology of poems.

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Jan Piwowarczyk (Polish)

St Benedict’s Primary

 

Highly commended

Kacper Jodelka (Polish)

St John Ogilvie Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Laith Kabour (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Ashley Li (Mandarin)

St James’ Primary

 

Highly commended

Amira Shaaban and Aidah Abubaker (Swahili)

St Rose of Lima Primary

 

Highly commended

Caroline Rotimi and Joolade Adekoya (Yoruba)

St Maria Goretti Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Miriam Espinosa (Catalan)

St James’ Renfrew

 

 

Highly commended

Lemuel Pascual (Filipino)

 

St James’ Renfrew

 

Highly commended

Noemi Dzurjanikova (Slovak)

St Rose of Lima

S2 – S3

Winner

Stefan Benyak (Hungarian)

Castlehead High

 

Highly commended

Éva Tallaron (French)

Royal High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (Hungarian)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ayesha Mujeb (Urdu)

George Heriot’s

 

Highly commended

Nadya Clarkson (Russian)

George Heriot’s

 

Other Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Julia Gawel (Scots)

Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary

P4 – P6

Winner(s)

Nathan Watson and Aiden Wardrop (French)

Johnshaven Primary

 

 

Highly commended

Jack Shaw (German)

Gartcosh Primary

 

 

Eva Campbell (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Rosalind Turnbull (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Samuel Kassm, Theo Wilson, Emma Cullen and Darren Campbell (French, Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Scots)

Battlefield  Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ciara Wilkie (French)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Jordanna Bashir (French)

Shawlands Academy

 

Highly commended

Holly Mincher (Spanish)

St Andrew’s

 

Highly commended

Rachel Cairns (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 11 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Join the EOL network

9 February 2017 (ECML)

Do you feel passionate about the learning and teaching of languages? Do you believe that your learners will benefits from acquiring language skills? Would you like to improve your school environment in relation to language teaching and learning? Are you interested in working with the ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages) of the Council of Europe?

Then why not join the EOL network? The EOL project team is delighted to work with all stakeholders in education in order to develop learning environments where modern languages flourish. More than 40 schools are already involved in the EOL project.

To find out more about the project and to join, visit the ECML website.

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Boost language attainment with a Modern Language Assistant

8 February 2017 (British Council)

Modern Language Assistants bring authentic language and culture to the classroom. In a recent survey of host schools, Heads of Languages reported improved exam results – raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more. The support of an Assistant is particularly valuable with the on-going focus on languages in the 1+2 initiative, and can particularly help to complement the development of language teaching in primary schools.

The British Council Language Assistants programme draws on over 100 years of experience with overseas education authorities to provide a trusted, high quality service.

Applications are now open! For more information visit the British Council website.

In 2016 the Erasmus+ UK National Agency awarded nearly €1.2m+ to Scotland’s schools and colleges for Key Action 2 (KA2) Strategic Partnerships, and 70% of Scottish applications for school-only partnerships were successful. The next Erasmus+ funding deadline is 29 March. If you are planning to apply, access our tailored guidance for school-only applications and school education applications; pre-recorded videos; and telephone support sessions.

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Le concours de la francophonie competition winners

8 February 2017 (SALT / Institut français)

Winners of the 2017 Concours de la francophonie, a competition run by the Institut français d'Ecosse for schools in Scotland, have now been announced!

Visit the SALT website for more information about the winners in each category.

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Many Languages, One World - 2017 student essay contest

7 February 2017 (Many Languages One World)

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), in collaboration with ELS Educational Services, Inc., (ELS) invites students, 18 years and older, who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a college or university, to participate in the Many Languages, One World Essay Contest.

The essay should discuss global citizenship and cultural understanding, and the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering these and must be written in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish).

Visit the Many Languages, One World website for more information about the competition and how to enter. Submission deadline is 16 March 2017.

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New semester German courses

7 February 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow has a range of courses for beginners to advanced learners for the new semester commencing 13 February 2017. Classes in general language courses take place on a once-a-week basis for 16 weeks.

See the programme of courses available and visit the website to enrol.

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Regulations are unintentionally killing the French exchange and our students will be all the poorer for it

6 February 2017 (TES)

Not long ago, schools would send many, many students on exchange trips to France but new red tape makes this unfeasible, writes one leading headteacher.

It’s funny how often laws or regulations collide. Perhaps the most famous absurdity can be found in Joseph Heller’s novel, Catch 22: airmen couldn’t be discharged from the American army in the Second World War unless proven mad. Yet to seek discharge was the only sane thing to do in an insane conflict.

This is, of course, the law of unintended consequences. A great example is this country's shortage of doctors. Many among the refugees arriving in the UK are qualified doctors but, as refugees, they’re forbidden to work.

Another example is a regulation now hitting schools, creating what I’d describe as another unintended consequence – unintended because, if it was spotted, then it’s crazy.

Ever more stringent safeguarding requirements, recently reinforced in the latest version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), make it all but impossible for schoolchildren on a language exchange to stay with host families in, say, France, Germany or Spain.

According to Annexe E of KCSIE, “such arrangements could amount to ‘private fostering’ under the Children Act 1989 or the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, or both”.

Thus, if a school makes an arrangement with, for example, its opposite number in France, so that the English children stay with French families and vice versa, they’re setting up “private fostering”. Because the school is a regulated activity provider, all adults in the host home must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

In the heyday of language exchanges, schools might have sent 50 or more children to France or Germany. Calculate the DBS checks required for the return visit, estimating two adults over 18 in every house (not necessarily parents): 100-plus. I guess they’d be free, being for volunteers, but the cost in office time of that paper-chase is colossal – as well as dragging parents in for their identity checks and the like.

Even if we can navigate that bureaucratic labyrinth, what about the parent who feels that such a check is intrusive or just plain wrong? If they stand on principle and refuse to be checked, they cannot host a child from the exchange school.

This regulation is surely the death knell for such activities as language exchanges. Even with all parents in both schools willing to be checked, sheer administrative workload makes the task impracticable in a busy school.

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Josh Martin, student of Psychology & German and part-time racing driver

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from student and part-time racing driver, Josh Martin, who appreciates how languages are key in helping him communicate with fans around the world and in negotiating sponsorship deals.

Read his profile and others on our website now.

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New and inclusive!

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Content for the ‘Languages for all’ area of our website is now up. The blog has launched. Pointers to professional learning opportunities are there. Links to relevant materials already on SCILT are listed.

We promise even more to come in the months ahead, so check back regularly for updates.

We’re also very interested to hear your comments about your experiences of inclusive practice in languages. To contact the group, please email SCILT or tweet @Lynne_SCILT using the hashtag #langs4all.

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The made-up language with just one speaker

3 February 2017 (BBC)

When it comes to learning languages, it's often thought the Swedes are rather good at it, the Dutch brilliant, and the British, rather poor. Student, Melissa May, who is from southern England, is perhaps the exception that proves the rule. Not content with mastering many languages including German, French and Spanish, she decided to invent a completely new one, with its own unique script. It is called Skénavánns. She told James Menendez about it.

Read more...

eTwinning Workshops

3 February 2017 (British Council eTwinning)

Interested in eTwinning and partnering with schools across Europe on collaborative projects? Check out the professional development opportunities in the UK and overseas for both primary and secondary sectors.

Visit the British Council eTwinning website for more information.

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Summer courses in Germany: Deadline 1 March 2017

1 February 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection has the following summer courses in Germany, which are currently open for applications:
Both programmes combine language learning with cultural trips and excursions, as well as staying with host families.

Not sure about applying? Our mentors are happy to answer your questions. Pupils can contact us to be put in touch.
The application deadline for all programmes is 1 March 2017.

For more information about the courses in Germany and other activities undertaken by UK-German Connection, visit their website.

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017

1 February 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Taking inspiration from Charlie Chaplin’s famous quote “Life is a desire, not a meaning”, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 features an all-encompassing introduction to Japanese cinema through the prism of “desires, hopes and impulses”.

Presenting films by established and up-and-coming directors, animation, documentary and classics, this year’s programme promises to not only entertain but also provide a vivid insight into what drives human action.

Screenings are taking place between 3 February and 29 March in various locations around the UK, including Stirling, Edinburgh, Inverness and Dundee.

Visit the website for full programme details.

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Teacher Volunteers Wanted

1 February 2017 (NUS Scotland)

The Scottish Migrant Institute has been set up as a teaching hub to provide training and education to the asylum seeker, refugee and migrant community. These evening and weekend classes, hosted at the University of Strathclyde, offer a range of subjects to adults who want to learn in their spare time. They are currently recruiting volunteers to teach French and Spanish – this would be an ideal opportunity for ML teachers or students who have some spare time to commit.

For more information please contact Lord Apetsi, NUS Scotland Asylum Seeker & Refugee Officer. An information event will be held at the University of Strathclyde in March/April (date to be confirmed).

Rescuing and reviving the curriculum is not enough to restore modern foreign languages to their rightful position

28 January 2017 (TES)

It's not enough to grandstand the fact that languages have been introduced at primary school and leave it at that, writes this veteran journalist.

I can remember my first German lesson at school only too clearly.

The first two phrases that I was taught were "Mutti bleibt zu hause" and "Vater geht zu arbeit". For the uninitiated, that means "mother stays at home" and "father goes to work". 

Apart from giving a rather forlorn view of the state of society in the early 1960's, it also shows how mind-bogglingly dreary were the German textbooks of the day.

Read more...

New Job Profile on SCILT's website

27 January 2017 (SCILT)

Inspire the future generation with relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace via the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from modern languages teacher, Olivia Ingleby, who tells how language skills helped her discover new places, cultures and the varied opportunities that brought prior to becoming a languages teacher.

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Choice of subjects is ‘not narrowing under CfE’

27 January 2017 (TESS)

Education directors have dismissed fears that pupils’ subject choices are narrowing under Curriculum for Excellence, insisting they have “far greater” choice than in the past.

MSPs have raised concerns that many pupils are only taking six subjects in S4 under new national qualifications, whereas eight would have been typical under the previous system.

Terry Lanagan, executive officer for education directors’ body ADES, said it was a mistake to look at S4 in isolation, since the “senior phase” was built around pupils accruing qualifications over a three-year period.

The former West Dunbartonshire education director also highlighted that schools could take more flexible approaches, such as joining forces to offer certain subjects or bringing in college lecturers to work with pupils. Greater priority was now given to so-called vocational qualifications, he added.

[..] Figures published in December show the numbers of secondary teachers by main subject taught from 2008-16. TESS examined subjects with more than 500 teachers in 2016 and found that French, computing and home economics are under extreme pressure.

The article can be read in full in TESS online, issue 27 January 2017 (subscription required).

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French classes for the new semester

26 January 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow has a number of upcoming courses for the new term. Follow the appropriate link below for more information:

For more information about the Alliance Française visit their website.

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UK-German Connection Funding

26 January 2017 (UK-German Connection)

A reminder that the next deadline for grants for UK-German activities is 31 January 2017.

For an 'at a glance' overview of our grants and details about each programme, please visit the UK-German Connection website.

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Refugee Exhibition

26 January 2017 (University of Edinburgh)

Let your senior phase students see a meaningful context in which German is spoken and meet the students who ran the integration project working with refugees in Germany.

The principal aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness, hopefully inspire similar projects and increase learner motivation for those who often don´t see the relevance of learning a language.

The photo exhibition will be open from March until the end of May. Interested schools can arrange to either:
  1. come and see the exhibition at the University of Edinburgh and meet some of the students involved
  2. see the exhibition and have some workshops about the refugee crisis
  3. request photos of the exhibition, the power point presentation and the film clip for those who are too remote to come to Edinburgh

Please email Annette Gotzkes in the first instance to discuss your preferred option.

Further information about the project can also be found on the University of Edinburgh website.

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Language Show Scotland – Free event + 20% discount on language classes!

24 January 2017 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s biggest and most prestigious event dedicated to all things language is back at the SECC in Glasgow on the 10th – 11th of March 2017. Officially sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government this free to attend event is a must for anyone interested in learning or advancing their languages, exploring job opportunities in the language industry, considering teaching or working abroad, enjoying a fantastic range of international cultural performances and much, much more!

10TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 6:00PM GLASGOW SECC
11TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 5:30PM GLASGOW SECC

Sample our extensive free seminar programme, meet over 100 top exhibitors like the European Commission, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the British Council, meet language professional recruiters, enjoy our fantastic array of cultural performances, free language classes and more.

Find out more and register for free today.

Our trademark intensive 2 hour Language Plus classes are also now available online at a heavily discounted early bird rate (over 20% off the standard price!) of just £18. These optional add-ons can be purchased at the end of the free registration process and are certain to add a productive language experience to your day!

Language Show Live Scotland 2017 logo

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Lanarkshire school is bringing Gaelic language and culture into centre of Scotland

24 January 2017 (Daily Record)

Lanarkshire may not be known as a hotbed of Gaelic but a little school are doing their best to reintroduce the language to the wider community.

Gartcosh Primary have been nominated for the Gaelic Education Award at this year’s Scottish Education Awards.

Rachel Neilly is one of four teachers at the village primary who has done the Gaelic Learning in Primary Schools course and teaches the language to primaries five to seven.

All children from primary two upwards learn German but the upper three classes have Gaelic as a third language.

They also learn about the culture in the Highlands and islands as part of their studies.

Read more...

New STEM job profile on SCILT's website

20 January 2017 (SCILT)

If you're looking for relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace, read the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from John Barry, a former petroleum engineer and manager with Shell, who explains how his language skills helped him to develop his career with the company.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2017

19 January 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

There's still time to submit nominations for the Awards, so get your entries in for the Making Languages Come Alive (Primary) and Gaelic Education/Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig.awards before the closing date of 15 February 2017.

Visit the Scottish Education Award website to make your nomination.

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Pass the Panda across Scotland

19 January 2017 (RZSS)

Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is excited to announce the official launch of its brand new ‘Panda Pass It On’ game for schools. The game, which is part of the conservation organisation’s Beyond the Panda education programme, launched at four schools in all four corners of Scotland on Tuesday 17 January: St. Patrick’s, South Ayrshire; Lasswade High, Midlothian, Portree Primary, Isle of Skye and Forehill Primary, Aberdeen.

With only four copies of the game available, the intention is for schools to keep the fun, learning resource for a week before passing it on to other schools. The panda games will hopefully make their way across Scotland, with each school logging their location through a QR code on the back of the game, which will allow RZSS to follow the games as they travel.

Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “I’m incredibly excited about the launch of the Panda Pass It On game. It is the first of its kind and is a fun way for children to learn more about China, its history, culture and language as well as their famous animals, the giant pandas. It will be really interesting to track the games as they travel to different schools.”

The game forms an introduction to the Beyond the Panda education programme, which is designed to promote cross-curricular learning, with pupils investigating and discovering more about China. The materials cover Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes in science, topical science, social studies, language and literacy. This is delivered through an outreach programme with fun, interactive games led by an education officer from RZSS, or in the case of the Panda Pass It On game, by itself.

The programme is sponsored by the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh with support from the Scotland China Education Network and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools at the University of Strathclyde.

For more information, please visit the RZSS Beyond the Panda website.

picture of children playing gamepicture of children playing

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Glasgow Film Festival 2017

18 January 2017 (Glasgow Film)

The programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2017 has just been announced!

More than 310 separate events and screenings of films from 38 countries will show across the city from 15 – 26 February in one of the UK’s biggest film festivals. The event offers several special screenings for schools, which this year includes the following foreign language options:

  • Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods (PG) - 6-8 February (French, English subtitles)
  • Ma Revolution (N/C 15+) - 3-8 February (French, English subtitles)
  • The Olive Tree (N/C 15+) - 7 February (Spanish/German with English subtitles)
  • Shorts for Wee Ones (N/C 3+) - 9 February (English, French or dialogue free)
  • The Golden Dream (N/C 12+) - 9 February (Spanish & Tzotzil with English subtitles)
  • Zip Zap & The Captain's Island (N/C 8+) - 9 February (Spanish)

There are also CPD opportunities for teachers and workshops for pupils. Visit the 'What's on for Schools' page of the GFT website for full details and to book.

Tickets go on sale to Glasgow Film Festival Members at noon on Thursday 19 January and on general sale at 10am on Monday 23 January.

Visit the GFT website for more information.

Read more...

Britons 'should learn Polish, Punjabi and Urdu to boost social cohesion'

18 January 2017 (The Guardian)

The government is being urged to create more opportunities for British people to learn languages such as Polish, Urdu and Punjabi as a means of improving social cohesion in local communities.

Recent inquiries looking into obstacles to social integration in the UK have highlighted the importance of immigrants learning English to enable them to integrate and engage fully in society.

Now Cambridge professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett is calling for British people to be encouraged to learn community languages, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of residents who speak these languages, to build on social cohesion.

Ayres-Bennett, who is a professor of French philology and linguistics and is a lead investigator in a major project looking at multilingualism, said rather than putting the onus solely on newcomers, social integration should be seen as a two-way street.

“Considering the issue from the point of view of language learning, we rightly expect immigrants to learn English but, as a nation, we often don’t see the need ourselves to learn another language, and consider it to be something difficult and only for the intellectual elite.

“I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of those speakers, so that there is some mutual effort in understanding the others’ language and culture.”

Read more...

Babies remember their birth language - scientists

18 January 2017 (BBC News)

Babies build knowledge about the language they hear even in the first few months of life, research shows.

If you move countries and forget your birth language, you retain this hidden ability, according to a study.

Dutch-speaking adults adopted from South Korea exceeded expectations at Korean pronunciation when retrained after losing their birth language.

Scientists say parents should talk to babies as much as possible in early life.

Dr Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in Seoul led the research.

The study is the first to show that the early experience of adopted children in their birth language gives them an advantage decades later even if they think it is forgotten, she said.

''This finding indicates that useful language knowledge is laid down in [the] very early months of life, which can be retained without further input of the language and revealed via re-learning,'' she told BBC News.

Read more...

Related Links

Adoptees advantaged by birth language memory (Science Daily, 18 January 2017)

Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.

Read more...

United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad 2017

17 January 2017 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. Thanks to our generous academic supporters, it’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

The UK Olympiad also enters at least one team in the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) for 2017 will soon get underway with round 1 taking place from 6-10 February.

If you are interested in finding out more about the competition and registering your school to take part, visit the UKLO website.

Read more...

Language exchange trips ‘killed’ off by safeguarding worries and costs

16 January 2017 (Schools Week)

Schools trying to organise language exchange trips face increasing hurdles including costs, visas and “unclear” government guidance on safeguarding, according to speakers at a Westminster education forum held today in London.

The “dull” content of modern foreign languages lessons, which one delegate said was “intellectually insulting” to pupils, was being made worse by a decline in exchange trips that would otherwise bring vocabulary to life.

Mike Buchanan, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference for independent schools (HMC), told teachers and policy makers that “the bureaucracy and hurdles in the way of exchange visits is killing them”.

Buchanan, who is also headteacher of Ashford school in Kent, said the desire among teachers to organise trips “had not diminished” but guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) – Keeping Children Safe in Education – updated in September last year was “less clear” on the issue of foreign exchange trips than previously and placed an onus on schools to carry out vetting and barring checks on host families in England.

“The impact is that schools are less inclined to engage in exchanges and trips.”

Read more...

CISS professional learning menu update

16 January 2017 (CISS)

The CISS CLPL menu for 2016-17 'Making Chinese work for you!' has been updated.

Visit the CISS website to view the brochure and for information on booking a professional learning session.

Read more...

Japan days for schools

16 January 2017 (RZSS)

Come along to our Japan days at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, held in partnership with the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies youth StampIT programme.

Experience a day at the park to visit the Japanese macaques along with an educational session using games and activities to learn about Japanese language and culture. Suitable for P6/7 and S1 levels. Entrance to the park is free for these special pilot events but places are limited and booking is essential.

Places available on Wednesday 8 March or Wednesday 15 March 2017. First come, first served. Contact Sandie Robb srobb@rzss.org.uk for further details and booking information.

UCML January Plenary 2017: Post-Brexit Implications for HE Languages

13 January 2017 (UCML)

Presentations of most of the speakers at the Workshop held on 6 January 2017 are now available to view on the UCML website.

Read more...

New Job Profile on the SCILT website

13 January 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles provide relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace.

Teachers, use them in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read our new Job Profile from Dawn Hartley, Head of Creative Learning at Scottish Dance Theatre.

Read more...

Regional Cross-Sector Hub Meetings, Round 2

13 January 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

UCMLS (University Council for Modern Languages Scotland) is again holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings during January and February.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with university colleagues to discuss current and future collaborative events in support of the Scottish Government's 1+2 language policy. Comments will feed into the UCMLS cross -sector action plan in support of 1+2, due to be launched on Friday 10 March 2017 at Glasgow City Chambers.

  • Central Hub: Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-11.30, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Room 2G13 (Registrations for the Central Hub meeting have now closed but if you wish to attend please send an email to m.m.g.sporing@dundee.ac.uk)
  • North Hub: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 4-5.30 pm, University of Aberdeen, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Top Floor, Room 1. Please register by 25 January
  • West Hub: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 5-6.30 pm, City of Glasgow College, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. Meet in Cafe Zero. Please register by 27 January
  • East Hub: Friday, 24 February 2017, 2-4 pm, Open University, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. Room tbc. Registration will open once room details have been confirmed so please look out for the update!

Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

11 January 2017 (SRF)

The latest news and events from the SRF can be found in their January news bulletin. You can practise your Russian language at the next Чай н Чат (Chai n Chat) in Edinburgh on 2 February.

Read more...

New term German classes in Glasgow

11 January 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow offers a range of courses for beginners through to advanced learners and is now enrolling for the new term classes, running from 13 February to 26 June 2017.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to enrol by 3 February.

Read more...

Gaelic writing competition

9 January 2017 (Acair Books)

Acair Books, an Lanntair and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have created a new award to encourage original writing in Gaelic for children.

The aim of the award is to:

  • Actively support original writing in Gaelic for children
  • Encourage and nurture new writers in Gaelic

In 2017, the award is for a book for 5 to 8 year-olds and must be between 1000 and 2000 words.

The work must be written in Gaelic by a writer aged 16-years or over, and who has never had a Gaelic book published for children before.

Visit the website for further information and submit your entry by 31 January 2017.

Read more...

SQA updates January 2017

9 January 2017 (SQA)

The SQA has updated the Course Assessment Specification document and several Specimen Question Papers on the Advanced Higher Modern Languages page of their website.

Read more...

New term French classes in Glasgow

9 January 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow has a number of upcoming courses for the new term. Follow the appropriate link below for more information:

For more information about the Alliance Française visit their website.

Read more...

Erasmus+ application support

9 January 2017 (Erasmus+)

The next Erasmus+ funding deadline for Key Action 1 School Staff Mobility is 2 February. For UK schools and colleges, the UK National Agency has guidance documentation, and videos on an introduction to Schools Key Action 1 and completing the eForm.

There is also a Q&A webinar at 4-5pm on 19 January.

Read more...

How to learn a language this year: ‘Will a virtual teacher work for me?'

7 January 2017 (The Guardian)

Italian, for me, has always been the one that got away. At school, French and Latin came easily, but for some reason I chose German as my third language. After getting into university to study French and Italian, I decided I’d rather lie around reading novels for three years and switched to English. In my 20s, I signed up for an evening class, but it was full and I was bumped into Spanish. Though it’s far more useful – the second-most widely spoken language in the world – Spanish just wasn’t the same.

Read more...

Nihongo Cup - Japanese speech contest for UK secondary schools

6 January 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students in the UK is open for applications!

This contest is open to students in the UK studying Japanese language.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to download the application pack.

Closing date for entries: 24 March 2017.

Read more...

Oxford German Olympiad 2017

6 January 2017 (Oxford University)

The Oxford German Olympiad 2017 is open to UK pupils aged from 9 to 18 with a range of different tasks to suit different age groups. There is also an open competition for groups or classes of 4+ participants.

This year's theme is Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland - German(s) beyond Germany.

Visit the Oxford German Olympiad website for more information and to enter by 17 March 2017.

Read more...

Oxford University Spanish Flash Fiction Competition

6 January 2017 (ALL)

A new competition from the Modern Languages Department at Oxford University invites secondary students to write a story in Spanish of not more than 100 words, and send it to schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on Friday 31 March 2017 with your name, age and year group, and the name and address of your school.

The judges will be looking for creativity and imagination as well as good Spanish!

Read more...

How to save MFL? Paint a brighter global future…

6 January 2017 (TES)

As students flee modern foreign languages in droves, Alistair McConville says that we should stop talking about the earning potential of subjects and instead appeal to pupils’ youthful sense of social empathy – especially at a time of political upheaval around the world.

The full article can be accessed on TES online, 6 January 2017 (subscription required).

Read more...

European Language Gazette issue 35 (December 2016)

6 January 2017 (ECML)

The latest edition of the European Language Gazette has just been published. This provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources), its partners and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe. It focuses on language education and national developments in the member states and beyond.

Read more...

The Languages Challenge

6 January 2017 (ALL / SOAS)

Run by SOAS, University of London, the Languages Challenge is now in its third year.

The Languages Challenge is a collaborative project aimed at students in year 8, 9 & 10 (S2-S4). Students have a choice of task and a choice of which languages they use in each of them. The aim of the challenge is to:

  • provide students with opportunities to actively engage with languages
  • encourage independent study and a range of soft skills like team-work, planning, leadership and negotiation skills
  • raise awareness of the cross-curricular opportunities in language studies

Students are encouraged to use oral as well as written skills, to plan each task, conduct research and produce multiple drafts. They must take different roles and complete a short reflective report for each task.

Attached is a Teacher Information Pack, which is also available to download on the ALL website along with further information about how to take part.

Read more...

Give your curriculum an international edge

6 January 2017 (British Council)

Spark enthusiasm for international learning by getting your school community on board with the International School Award.

Managed by the British Council, the International School Award is a supportive and motivational framework that guides schools through their international work. With three certified levels, and free in the UK, the award will take you from introducing international work to the curriculum, to embedding it within your school’s culture.

Following an accessible methodology you will forge links with partner schools around the world, enhance your curriculum and prepare your students for life as global citizens.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website to find out more about how your school can grow and develop with the International School Award and read the article below from the British Council Voices blog which offers advice on 'Six ways to make your school more international.'

Read more...

Related Links

Six ways to make your school more international (British Council Voices blog, 14 November 2016)

Mathématiques sans frontières

6 January 2017 (North Lanarkshire Council)

North Lanarkshire Council and Heriot Watt University are once again jointly organising the world-wide Maths and Language competition “Mathématiques sans Frontières” in Scotland.

Schools are invited to participate in this stimulating and light-hearted competition for S4 and S5 which combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils.

The competition itself will be held on Tuesday 7 March 2017 and schools wishing to participate should complete the proforma attached and return by 27 January 2017. There is also a training test available for download.

See the attachments for more information and to register your school.

LFEE Europe immersion courses in France and Spain 2017-18

6 January 2017 (LFEE)

LFEE Europe has been an international course provider since 2002. Our team of experienced and fully qualified native teachers are committed to promoting French and Spanish language and culture throughout Europe. Funding for all our courses is available through the European Union Erasmus+ Programme.

For more information see the attached flyer or visit the LFEE website.

Read more...

Parents think Mandarin is most useful language for children, survey says

5 January 2017 (BT)

Mandarin Chinese is the most useful non-European language for children to learn, UK parents believe.

It will boost their child's career prospects, according to 51%of parents, while 56% felt it would open their children's minds to an "exciting and dynamic" culture.

Arabic and Japanese, which both picked by 14% of parents, were the other key non-European languages.

The figures were gained after 1,138 UK adults with children aged under 18 were questioned in a Populus survey commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP).

French, Spanish and German were the top choices overall for young people in the UK to learn after being picked by 57%, 54% and 40% of parents respectively.

Read more...

English Language Assistants Programme

4 January 2017 (British Council)

Students and graduates - work across the world as an English Language Assistant. There is no better way to explore and experience life in another country than by living in it.

The English Language Assistants programme provides a unique opportunity for UK students and graduates to experience living abroad and make their CV stand out from the crowd by supporting the teaching of English in an overseas school or university.

Language Assistants can gain a wealth of transferable skills as well as proficiency in a foreign language by becoming immersed in another culture. Placements are paid and teaching time is limited to between 12 and 20 hours a week which puts assistants in a great position to be able to travel, learn and pursue new interests.

Placements are available in fourteen countries worldwide including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, China, Switzerland, Austria, Canada and Latin America.

Visit the British Council website and see where becoming an English Language assistant can take you. Applications for the 2017-18 academic year are now open and will close on 28 February 2017.

Read more...

Meet The Refugees Taking On The UK’s Language Skills Deficit

1 January 2017 (Huffington Post)

What do a dentist, a human rights lawyer and a maths teacher have in common?

Certainly, they’re all qualified professionals. What you might not guess - blog title aside - is that they have all sought, and found, refuge in the UK in the last few years. They fled from Syria, Sudan and North Korea respectively. None of them have (yet) been able to practise their professions here, but that hasn’t stopped them helping the Brits in need of their skills. They all now work for a new tech for good startup, through which they share their native language and culture - online and in person - with people in the UK.

The startup is called Chatterbox. By training and employing refugees ​as language tutors, the venture catalyses refugee integration into the UK labour market whilst tackling the country’s language skills deficit.

Read more...

Related Links

Want to learn Arabic, Korean or Swahili? Refugee language tutors can help (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 January 2017)

Local pupils wanting to study Gaelic might not be taken by Glasgow City Council bosses warn

19 December 2016 (Clydebank Post)

Pupils from West Dunbartonshire wanting to study Gaelic may no longer be taken by Glasgow City Council, education bosses have said.

At the education services committee last week, Laura Mason, chief education officer, said Glasgow Gaelic School currently takes their 18 pupils doing their medium language study.

But she said: “We don’t know until we start enrolling in January if parents demand Gaelic education. There is a strong possibility Glasgow City Council will say they’re full.

Read more...

ELEO: Spanish Centres of Resources Digital Library

15 December 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Consejería de Educación has recently launched a digital library. If you are a teacher of Spanish, you can have an access to a myriad of resources.

Visit the site for more information and register now!

Read more...

Calderglen 1+2 Case Study

15 December 2016 (SCILT)

Calderglen is a six-year non-denominational, comprehensive school in East Kilbride, established after the merger of Hunter and Claremont High Schools. It serves approximately 1,600 pupils and shares a campus with Sanderson High School for young people with additional support needs.

The school uses an innovative and dynamic approach to the curriculum. Read how pupils benefit from creative language learning strategies and for interesting ideas for the implementation of 1+2.

Read more...

SQA Course Reports

15 December 2016 (SQA)

SQA has now published the Modern Languages course reports for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

These contain helpful information on candidate performance in the 2017 examinations as well as providing invaluable advice to centres. Teachers may find the information particularly useful in the run up to prelims.

To access the reports for all Modern Languages visit the SQA website and choose National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher.

The course reports can be found under the tab Verification and Course Reports at the bottom of the page.

SCILT will summarise the key messages and publish them on the website early in the New Year.

Read more...

1+2 languages Development Officers’ conference

15 December 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland, SCILT and UCMLS ran a joint DO conference on Tuesday 29 November with a focus on sharing good practice in implementation strategies for 1+2 languages.

The morning session was given over to a presentation by Professor Angela Scarino, University of South Australia, architect of the Australian languages policy. You can now view Professor Scarino's presentation online.

Read more...

UCMLS - Second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings

15 December 2016 (SCILT / UCMLS)

We are holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings in January/February where we are seeking your views in preparation for the UCMLS action plan in support of the 1+2 language policy (Launch date: 10 March, in Glasgow!).

Dates for Central and North Hub are already decided, those for East and West Hub will be announced in the New Year.

First up, though is the Central Hub meeting, which will be held at the University of Dundee (Dalhousie, Room 2G13) on Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-12 (Registration from 9.30). The North Hub meeting will be at the University of Aberdeen, on Wednesday 1 February (Library, top floor).

Please check for updates on the SCILT website.

Read more...

Generation UK – China Scholarship programme

14 December 2016 (British Council)

Through Generation UK, the British Council have opened up a range of opportunities in China, giving students the chance to experience the country, language and culture while gaining valuable skills for the future.

One student from the University of St Andrews shares her experience of taking part in the Generation UK - China Scholarship programme.

Read Victoria's story and find out more about the opportunities available on the British Council website.

Read more...

Report shows progress in promoting modern foreign languages in Welsh schools

14 December 2016 (Welsh Government)

The number of pupils learning Mandarin has more than doubled according to a new report on a drive to increase the use of modern foreign languages in Welsh schools (Weds 14th Dec).

In October 2015 the Welsh Government published Global Futures, a plan to improve and promote modern foreign languages in Wales and today a new report on the progress made has been published.

It comes as the Education Secretary will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Spanish Government to improve and promote the teaching and learning of the Spanish language in Wales.

The MOU builds on a range of activity being carried out in Wales by the Spanish Embassy Education Office.

Read more...

Language Futures

13 December 2016 (ALL)

Language Futures is an exciting approach for schools interested in developing languages beyond the classroom.

Initially a KS3 approach, Language Futures is now being adopted by primary schools with a range of primary-focused guidance and resources being developed over 2016-17.

Its core purpose is to generate deep engagement with learning and to encourage learners to take responsibility for their learning both within and beyond the classroom. Increasing motivation and engagement are integral to the approach with learners not only choosing the language they wish to learn, but also exercising choice in elements of what and how to learn. A core feature of the approach is the personalised support offered to pupils by mentors who are volunteers from the local community with an in-depth knowledge and fluency in a particular language, recruited to provide good models of the language.

Visit the ALL website for further information on launching Language Futures in your school.

Read more...

European Language Gazette N° 34

13 December 2016 (ECML)

The latest edition of the European Language Gazette has just been published.

The ECML's e-newsletter provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources) and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as our partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

Read more...

Learning a second language still matters

10 December 2016 (Times Higher Education)

The Brexit vote sent shock waves through the UK’s modern languages community.

Already shaken by the closure of modern languages departments at the universities of Ulster and Northumbria, a continuing downward trend in undergraduate enrolments, and the loss of Higher Education Funding Council for England funding for the Routes Into Languages programme, the vote seemed to many to be symptomatic of a lack of understanding of the value of languages both nationally and internationally.

Part of the problem derives from the widespread misconception that speaking English is enough and that monolingualism is the norm.

Read more...

Which languages should be taught in schools and why?

29 November 2016 (The Guardian)

The Polish prime minister Beata Szydło has called on Theresa May to introduce Polish classes for children in English schools.

It raises interesting questions about what languages we teach in schools and why. Szydło also called for more support for the 831,000 Poles living in Britain. Introducing the language could help communities feel more integrated.

In the past language choices have been for different reasons. In 2010 the government decided to train 1,000 Mandarin teachers to work in secondary schools in England due to China’s increasing influence on the global economy. Those in favour of the move said the next generation would need to understand Chinese culture and use its language.

Which languages do you think children should learn and why? Should an emphasis be put on how useful that language may be in the future? Or should the decision be made based on the needs of the local community?

Which languages have been most or least helpful to you? Which one did you enjoy learning and why? Did you grow up speaking another language at home? How would you have felt if your fellow pupils had studied it in school? Share your views with us.

Read more...

Related Links

The importance of Polish lessons in a post-Brexit world (The Guardian, 29 November 2016)

Media Release: Confucius Classroom launches in Moray

29 November 2016 (All Media Scotland)

A facility dedicated to promoting closer cultural links between school pupils in Moray and their counterparts in China was formally opened today.

The Confucius Classroom is part of a growing network of hubs – currently standing at more than 20 – being set up across Scotland to help promote Chinese language and culture in schools.

The Moray hub is based at Elgin Academy and will be resourced for children and young people from across the area to study all aspects of Chinese life.

It will also serve as a base for two teachers from China who will work closely with a total of 14 local secondary and primary schools during the current session.

The teaching posts are funded by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University where the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools is based.

Opportunities will also exist for teachers from Moray schools to undertake exchange visits to China, while pupils will also be able to take part in language immersion courses in Chinese schools.

Read more...

School Partnership Bursaries

29 November 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Do you have a link with a German school? Have your schools engaged in any joint activities in 2016?

Keeping up connections between the UK and Germany is now more important than ever. To help you to keep your school partnership alive, UK-German Connection is offering schools special partnership bursaries of £1,000.

It's easy to apply. Just complete a short online questionnaire by 7 December 2016.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.

Read more...

Quebec student exchange proposal

28 November 2016 (SALT)

Éducation Internationale (EI), a non-profit cooperative in education founded by Québec Local Education authorities (or school boards), would like to develop student exchanges between Québec and the UK, with a particular focus on Scotland and Wales. If you think this might be of interest to your authority, there is more detailed information, including contact details, in the document on the SALT website.

Read more...

SEET update

28 November 2016 (SEET)

Find out the latest about the Our Europe and Euroquiz competitions for Scottish schools in SEET's November 2016 newsletter.

Read more...

Seven Gaelic phrases and sayings for the absolute beginner

25 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

There is nothing like learning a new language to exercise your mind and impress your friends. 

Gaelic may have become a political hot potato but picking up a few key phrases will connect you to a language spoken in Scotland for more than 1,000 years.

Little over one per cent of Scotland’s population now speaks Gaelic with highest rates found in the Western Isles. Numbers of young people learning the minority language are on the rise while the proportion of the older population with a knowledge of Gaelic starts to fall.

Here are seven easy Gaelic phrases and sayings - with phonetic transcription - to try out for size.Some may come in particularly handy over the festive season.

Read more...

Concours de la Francophonie 2017

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

L’Institut Français d’Écosse and the Alliance Française de Glasgow, in partnership with SCILT, are delighted to launch the 2nd edition of the Concours de la Francophonie which encourages young French learners and their teachers across Scotland to celebrate French language and the international Journée mondiale de la francophonie taking place in March each year..

To participate, you need to submit a short video (max 5mins) in French such as a dialogue, a song a short drama piece, etc. There are four categories:

  • P1-P4,
  • P5-P7,
  • S1-S3
  • S4-S6.

The four winning teams will be invited to the University of Edinburgh on Friday 17 March 2017 to take part in a special day of workshops in French and the awards ceremony.

For more information and to enter the competition by 14 December visit the Alliance Française or Institut Français website.

Read more...

French grammar and oral courses for university students

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

Studying French at university? Brush up on your grammar and oral skills at the AF !

We will be running two new courses for grammar and oral practice specifically designed for students who are currently studying French at university.

The courses will run for 5 weeks during January/February 2017.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to enrol.

Read more...

CPD Workshops for Primary School Teachers in 2017

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française de Glasgow will be running a programme of CPD workshops in French for Primary school teachers between February and April 2017.

Ten topics will be covered, tailored to the needs of Primary school teachers.

For more information and to enrol, visit the Alliance Française website.

Read more...

French oral revision courses: Higher and Advanced Higher

23 November 2016 (Alliance Française)

As in previous years, the Alliance Française de Glasgow will be running Higher and Advanced Higher Oral Preparation courses for pupils who will be sitting their French oral examinations in 2017.

The sessions will take place during February 2017.

Visit the Alliance Française website for further information and to enrol.

Read more...

News from Scotland-Russia Forum

21 November 2016 (SRF)

The latest news and events from the SRF can be found online in their November bulletin.

If you want to practise your Russian language skills, the next Chai n Chat (Tea and Chat) takes place in Edinburgh on 1 December.

Read more...

Language within

18 November 2016 (What's on Glasgow)

Language classes for adults, kids and teens in the heart of Glasgow.  Choose from English, Italian, Spanish, French and Gaelic.

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Making teaching more conversational could help tackle languages crisis

18 November 2016 (TES)

Foreign language teachers should teach more commonly used words and conversational subject matter to engage pupils in their subjects, a report published today recommends.

The Teaching Schools Council argues that such changes would help more students persist in studying foreign languages, which the research described as being in “crisis” beyond GCSE.

The council's Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review report points out that fewer than half of pupils take a GCSE in a language. It recommends that the "vast majority of young people" should study a modern foreign language up to age 16 and take a GCSE in it.

The report, designed to provide advice for secondary school languages teachers, suggests some language teaching uses vocabulary that is too specialised because it sticks with set themes, such as "free-time activities" and the "environment".

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Rapping up Mandarin

18 November 2016 (TESS)

If you want to get an insight into what your YouTube-fixated, viral-hungry students are looking at online this year, you won’t go far wrong if you spend some time with a few Asian hip hop artists. Be it the viral thrust and wry wit of Indonesia’s Rich Chigga, the America-breaking ferocity of South Korea’s Keith Ape or China’s hottest new hip hop property, Higher Brothers, this is one of the year’s most dominant, and credible, trending genres.

This rise of Asian hip hop comes at a fortuitous time for London teacher Adam Moorman. While his approach to teaching Mandarin to key stage 5 students at Fortismere School in North London was not inspired by his students’ preoccupation with the new stars of rap, it certainly feeds into it: he’s getting his class to rap in Mandarin themselves.

“It’s much easier than you think,” Moorman says. “Mandarin is a monosyllabic language with a much more limited range of sounds than English. If you discount tones, there are around 400 syllables in Mandarin, compared with more than 8,000 in English. So it’s a lot harder to come up with rhymes in English than in Mandarin.”

Students are asked to create raps as preparation for their speaking exam. Guided on content by the key topics in the qualification (pollution, for example) and on complexity by the exam marking criteria, they write, practise and then perform the raps, which are recorded. Moorman explains that rap is a useful tool to get students talking for a number of reasons. First, he says that Mandarin is an inherently musical language, so it lends itself to the genre. Second, learning a language requires repetition, and keeping that engaging is tough – writing and performing a rap gives students a compelling reason to go over sentences again and again. Third, the nature of rap means that dexterity of vocabulary is rewarded – so there is an incentive to learn more phrases and be innovative with them.

“Many teachers find that, as students move through KS4-5, they become frustrated by the difficulty of constructing longer passages of speech,” Moorman explains. “Some of the fun, freshness and simplicity of language-learning at KS3 disappears.

“This approach tackles that by combining rhythm, rhymes and repetition in an enjoyable and memorable way that shifts the focus from painstaking book-based learning, but achieves the rewards of independent research, drafting and practising.”

The full article can be accessed in TESS online, 18 November 2016 (subscription required).

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The carefully worded welcome

18 November 2016 (TESS)

Imagine being the leader of a local authority and being told that you suddenly need to deal with an influx of 100,000 men, women and children into your city, and that most of them will not be able to speak the local language.

Now imagine you are in charge of education provision in that city and you need to integrate a large number of these children into your education system. What would you do? How would you best meet the needs of these children while continuing to maintain a high standard of education for the children currently in your schools?

This was the challenge facing Berlin City Council last year. In Britain, we looked on as refugees fleeing Syria and other war-ravaged countries arrived in Germany to open arms, yet we never fully gained an insight into how they were integrated into German society.

Last summer, I travelled to Berlin as part of an Erasmus+ scheme to find out. There I met Gudrun Schreier, whose job it is to oversee the integration of thousands of refugee children into the city’s education system.

How Schreier and her team approached their task should be of interest to schools everywhere – it is a task many of us will soon have to undertake, too.

Schreier was guided by the overall approach of the council. The underlying principle it adopted was Sprache als Schlüssel zur Integration (language as the key to integration). In a school setting, this took the form of Willkommensklassen (welcome classes).

Willkommensklassen are special classes within a school, made up purely of nonnative speaking children who initially have little or no knowledge of German. They are situated within mainstream schools, with language acquisition being their principal function.

The goal of the Willkommensklassen is that within six to 12 months, 90 per cent of the children will have obtained a high enough standard of German to be able to transfer to a Regelklasse (mainstream class).

The full article can be accessed in TESS online, 18 November 2016 (subscription required).

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'Now More Than Ever’ - Why The UK Needs To Make More Time For Language Learning In The Run Up To Brexit

17 November 2016 (Huffington Post)

'Language skills matter now more than ever’ - that is the resounding message coming from the British Council’s latest piece of research on language learning in the post-Brexit landscape. But with language uptake low in schools - and the majority of us admitting our own linguistic skills are rusty at best - what can be done to make sure languages get the recognition they deserve as the UK prepares to leave the EU?

Well the good news is that the majority of us recognise the vital role that languages have to play in the current climate. Out of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by Populus in our new poll for International Education Week, 63 per cent saw the ability to speak other languages as being essential if the country is to remain “outward looking”. 61 per cent said they were more vital than ever if the UK is to remain “open for business” in light of the result of the EU referendum.

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Oxford German Olympiad 2017

16 November 2016 (Oxford German Network)

The Oxford German Olympiad 2017 is now open! This year's theme is Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland - German(s) beyond Germany.

The competition is open to UK pupils aged from 9 to 18 with a range of different tasks to suit different age groups. There is also an open competition for groups or classes of 4+ participants.

Visit the Oxford German Olympiad website for more information. Entry deadline is 17 March 2017.

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Grab opportunities in this Century of Asia

16 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s people have, historically, been our greatest asset, making a significant impact both within the UK and abroad. The impact made overseas by Scots has been remarkable given our small population.

The Scottish Government’s own strategy incorporates “the Four Is” s as highest priorities, beginning with “Investing in our people and infrastructure in a sustainable way”. But are we doing enough to unlock the true potential of Scotland and embrace the opportunities that arise, even in a post-Brexit environment?

A critical factor for Scotland will be the ability of its companies and institutions to engage effectively with many new markets. The majority of these sit in Asia and require a special knowledge of practices and customs to ensure success. Since most companies in Scotland are SMEs this means that they need to wake up to the need to create market entry strategies and produce the right products and services to attract both investors and customers or clients.

[..] Learning starts at an early age. The Scotland China Education Network (SCEN) was founded in 2006 by Dr Judith McClure to bring together individuals, national agencies and associations keen to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools.

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Language skills ‘more vital than ever’

15 November 2016 (British Council)

Language skills are ‘more vital than ever’ if the UK is to remain ‘outward looking’ and ‘open for business’ in the run up to Brexit, new British Council research has revealed.

In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, the majority saw the ability to speak foreign languages as being essential if the UK is to successfully reach out to other countries (63 per cent) - and guarantee continued trade and investment (61 per cent) – in light of the result of the EU referendum.

Over two thirds of those surveyed (67 per cent) believed that as a country, we currently don’t encourage enough young people in the UK to learn other languages, with a similar number (63 per cent) stating that schools need to make more time than ever before for language learning as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

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News Exclusive: The Arsenal Double Club

14 November 2016 (Arsenal Football Club)

With a total of seven languages in his armoury, Petr Cech is by far the most lingual member of Arsenal’s squad, now that Mikel Arteta, conversant in nine tongues, has left the club. Earlier this year, Steve Eadon, Languages coordinator for the Arsenal Double Club, interviewed Cech about his experience with languages.

“Before I do these interviews, I have a little time with the players off camera,” explains Steve, who has also interviewed Hector Bellerin and Gabriel on the same subject. “I asked Petr how many of these languages he is actually fluent in. He said that he was fluent in all of them. So we tested him and, needless to say, he was telling the truth!”

Cech voluntarily learned Spanish and Portuguese when he arrived at Chelsea due to the proliferation of Spanish and Portuguese speaking players in the Blues’ defence. Cech revealed earlier this year that he uses three different languages to communicate with the Arsenal defence.

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Language assistants risk being lost in translation

11 November 2016 (TESS)

Most schools still do not have access to a modern language assistant, new figures show, amid fears that the scheme will wither away if a key source of funding is stopped.

Native speakers of foreign languages have long come to Scotland to work in schools and help teachers to bring those subjects to life. But as local authorities cut budgets, their numbers fell as low as 72 by 2013-14.

Figures obtained by TESS show that the provisional number of modern language assistants (MLAs) has risen to 146 this year, including 23 in independent schools.

The data from British Council Scotland – which arranges for MLAs to work in the country – show increased numbers in all five languages that are part of the scheme: French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.

But there is still some way to go to match the 278 MLAs that were working in schools in 2005-06 – the highest number since existing records began in 2003.

The picture also varies markedly around the country: 18 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have no MLAs, while Edinburgh has the most with 25, and even a small council like Angus has as many as 19.

Lucy Young, head of education at British Council Scotland, said that councils often used funding from the Scottish government’s 1+2 languages programme to recruit MLAs at an annual cost of about £10,000 per assistant.

Under the programme – being rolled out in all primary schools – pupils are expected to have knowledge of two languages other than their own by the time they reach secondary.

But this key funding is due to be stopped in 2020 – putting schools’ access to MLAs at risk.

Read the full article on TESS online, 11 November 2016 (subscription required).

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New job profile on the SCILT website

11 November 2016 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed to be used in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work. They provide really relevant careers advice on languages, direct from the workplace, and cover a range of sectors. See our latest addition:
  • Claire Murphy, Translator - a translator at the European Commission, Claire speaks Spanish, German and Italian and is currently learning French. She explains how cultural knowledge is as important as language skills in her role.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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UK-German Connection news

9 November 2016 (UK-German Connection)

The latest funded opportunities from UK-German Connection can be found on their website via the appropriate links below:

For more information about UK-German Connection and their full range of activities, visit their website.

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Make Time for Languages! - International Education Week 2016

8 November 2016 (British Council)

A reminder that this year's International Education Week (IEW), taking place from 14-18 November, has a focus on languages.

Find out how you can get involved by visiting the British Council's IEW website.

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LFEE Europe immersion courses 2017-2018 in France and Spain for primary and secondary teachers

8 November 2016 (LFEE)

The dates for our immersion courses 2017-2018 have just been released. Please visit the LFEE website to find out new dates and further information or see the attached brochure.

Successful applicants receive a grant from the British Council that covers all costs, including flights, accommodation and subsistence, as well as the course fee.

NEW: Immersion follow up

If you have already attended our immersion course in France in the past and wish to attend another course with us, we have created a follow up immersion which will take place in the beautiful city of Avignon in Provence. Please contact us for further information.

Should you wish to participate in our immersion courses in France or Spain from July 2017 to April 2018, please pre-register at immersions@lfee.net and we will send you further information on how to apply to the Erasmus+ European funding for schools.

Do not hesitate to visit our website and blog for more information and to see what your colleagues have said about their course last summer.

A bientôt!

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How human brains do language: One system, two channels

8 November 2016 (Science Daily)

Currently there is a debate as to what role sign language has played in language evolution, and whether the structure of sign language share similarities with spoken language. New research shows that our brain detects some deep similarities between speech and sign language.

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SALT 2016 Schools Poster Competition winners

7 November 2016 (SALT)

After a fantastic response to the 2016 Schools Poster Competition, the winning entries can now be seen on the SALT website.

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Pupils enjoy Gaelic careers day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

7 November 2016 (Skye Times)

Thirty five Gaelic learners and speakers from Portree and Plockton Secondary Schools attended a Careers Day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The event was formally opened by Mr John Norman Macleod, Vice Principal/Director of Academic Studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.

The annual event ‘SIUTHAD!’– GO ON!’ is aimed at both Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers. ‘SIUTHAD!’ showcases a range of Gaelic related careers and encourages young people to continue with their Gaelic studies.

‘SIUTHAD’!’ is a partnership between The Highland Council, Skills Development Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is organised by the Council’s Gaelic Team, Skills Development Scotland(SDS) and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

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Scottish Gaelic Awards 2016: Full list of nominees who made the shortlist

7 November 2016 (Daily Record)

The finalists have been announced for this year’s Scottish Gaelic Awards with just over a week to go until the big event.

The awards pay tribute to all aspects of Gaelic culture, education and language, highlighting the excellent work done in maintaining its growth and heritage.

The winners will be revealed on Wednesday, November 16 at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.

One of the finalists in the Learner Award is radio show Beag air Bheag, aired weekly on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal.

The programme’s title means “little by little” and it introduces Gaelic learners to the language at an accessible pace.

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First Chinese classroom to open for Moray school pupils

4 November 2016 (Press and Journal)

School pupils in Moray will be transported from the north-east to the Far East with the opening of the region’s first Chinese classroom.

The Confucius base is scheduled to open at Elgin Academy at the end of the month with language and culture lessons for students. Two Chinese-speaking teachers will be based in the classroom, but will take lessons at five other secondary schools and eight primary schools in the region.

The initiative will also open up the opportunity for pupils and staff to take part in courses in the Asian country.

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Closed borders will lead only to closed minds

4 November 2016 (TESS)

It’s been just over four months since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and we still know very little about how Brexit will affect life in the UK. That is, of course, largely because it will be another few months until the process of the UK’s departure formally starts, and so, really, nothing has actually changed.

That is not to say it won’t, of course.

[..] And as Scotland’s modern language teachers prepare to come together for the Scottish Association of Language Teachers annual conference this week, its chair, Gillian Campbell-Thow, told me that Brexit would “either be a force for great change in the respect that it will give us a massive opportunity to further enhance the need for young people who are culturally aware and can communicate on many levels; or it will be another nail in the coffin to language learning as real life opportunities to work and live in other countries may not be as easy or accessible as they once were.”

Read the full article in TESS online, 4 November 2016 (subscription required).

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Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, supports MTOT

4 November 2016 (SCILT)

We are delighted to have Jackie Kay, the national laureate, as patron for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland.

Hear Jackie's message supporting the aims and values of the competition in the video on our MTOT webpage.

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European Language Gazette (September/October 2016)

3 November 2016 (ECML)

The European Language Gazette, the ECML's e-newsletter, provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources), the Language Policy Unit and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as our partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

The latest edition is now available to view online.

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Fokus: Films from Germany 2016/17

3 November 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Returning to Scottish screens from 25 November 2016 to 28 January 2017, is this nation-wide event featuring 12 innovative, inspiring and challenging films by Germany-based directors. We have selected a wide array of topics and cinematic styles that shed light on current debates and discourses in Germany.

The following screenings are specifically for school groups:

For full programme details visit the Goethe-Institut website.

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Lords debate on Brexit impact for HE funding and research

3 November 2016 (They Work For You)

The motion was raised in the House of Lords on 3 November 2016 that the House takes note of the potential impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on funding for universities and scientific research.

During the debate, Baroness Garden of Frognal raised the importance of increasing and improving the UK's ability to communicate with the world in languages other than English following withdrawal from the EU.

The full debate can be accessed online.

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Interactive map reveals the cost of mastering the world’s top 20 languages

3 November 2016 (Daily Mail)

Whether it’s the winter weather or the global political flux that has set your wanderlust in motion, it’s hard to resist the idea of one day living overseas.

Indeed some 323,000 Brits left the UK for foreign climes last year, but if you’re tempted to pack up and book a ticket, it’s worth considering the cost and time it takes to learn a new language, because it's more than you think.

An interactive map of the world's top 20 languages has revealed that Mandarin is the most expensive language to learn, averaging £66,035 to become fluent. Francophiles will be delighted to discover that French is the easiest language to grasp - taking just 550 hours and £14,000 to learn.

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Raising a Trilingual Child

2 November 2016 (Wall Street Journal)

Raising a bilingual child is a goal for many parents. For others, it is just the first step.

Stefano Striuli, an IT executive in Atlanta, speaks to his daughters, Letizia, 10, and Maite (Mah-ee-tay), 7, in his native Italian. The girls speak to their mother, Pilar Guzman, in her native Spanish. The girls switch into English when speaking to each other at home, and they are learning French at school. When the whole family is together, they speak mostly Italian, or English when in public.

There are many reasons for encouraging children to learn a third or fourth language. Parents from two different countries often want to create a home for their children where both native languages are spoken. A bilingual family temporarily living overseas might want to encourage children to become fluent in the local language.

To work, a trilingual household needs rules, and rules must be enforced. Mr. Striuli says if his daughters get confused and use English at home, he ignores them—“but not in a rude way”—until he hears Italian.

“They know that Daddy equals Italian and Mommy equals Spanish,” he says.

The right time to commit to introducing a second or third language to a child is at birth. Parents need to create an environment where children are comfortable speaking, says Annick De Houwer, professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the Universitat Erfurt in Erfurt, Germany.

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Spanish Immersion Days for secondary students

2 November 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Consejería de Educación and the Spanish Academy of Language and Translation (SALT) offer Spanish Immersion Days for pupils studying at Higher and Advanced Higher level.

Trained MLAs are ready to visit schools and spend a day with students giving them the opportunity to practise Spanish meaningfully with native speakers through oral communication activities, workshops and games.

Visit the website or see the attached flyer for more information and the procedure to book.

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Related Files

Japan Foundation Funding Programme 2017

1 November 2016 (Japan Foundation)

The Japan Foundation is now accepting applications to several Annual Grant Programmes which support organisations and individuals in the fields of Arts and Culture, Japanese Language Education and Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange.

Visit the website for more information about each programme and how to submit your application.

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Related Links

Funding for Japanese Language Education Projects held in the UK - the next deadline for applications for funding to introduce and support Japanese in schools is 18 November 2016.

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #5

1 November 2016 (University of Cambridge)

In the fifth of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr John Gallagher, historian of early modern Europe, argues that Britain should look to its past to rediscover the importance of language learning.

The article also includes links to the previous entries in the series.

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Gaelic Easter courses 2017

31 October 2016 (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig)

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture and is offering short 5-day courses during Easter 2017 on the Isle of Skye.

Visit the college website for more information and to book your place.

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Why Your Spanish Is Stagnating...And What To Do About It!

31 October 2016 (Huffington Post)

Do you remember your first few weeks learning Spanish?

It was lots of fun, right?

You’d learn some new words, a few useful expressions, and you’d be able to use them in simple conversations right away!

It was an amazing feeling... “At this rate, I’ll speak fluent Spanish in no time!”

Except it didn’t quite work out like that.

Somewhere along the line, your progress slowed...

Learning Spanish stopped being fun, and feelings of frustration started to creep in. You think: “Maybe I’m just not cut out to learn Spanish!”

Well, if you can relate to any of this, there’s something important I want you to know:

It’s completely normal!

Here’s why...

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Business Brunches 2017

28 October 2016 (SCILT)

For the third year in succession SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events across Scotland in January and February 2017. These will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, these events will demonstrate the relevance of language skills in a work context with the intention of encouraging pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education.

Registration is now open for the Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen events. (Edinburgh and Inverness will open soon).

To find out more and to register by 21 November, visit our Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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International Education Week 2016: Make Time for Languages

26 October 2016 (British Council)

The British Council celebrates International Education Week every year, promoting the benefits of international learning and cultural exchange to a huge community of teachers and school leaders in the UK and all over the world. We believe that international learning, global communication and language learning is more important now than ever. That’s why this year’s IEW theme is ‘Make Time For Languages’.

We’ve got a whole raft of offers, opportunities and resources to help you celebrate International Education Week and make time for languages in your schools and classrooms.

Visit the British Council IEW website to find out how you can get involved from 14-18 November.

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DAAD writing competition

25 October 2016 (DAAD)

The DAAD and the IMLR, together with the Goethe-Institut and the Swiss and German Embassies in London, are calling all learners and lovers of German to take part in a writing competition! This time, the task is to write a story in German.

Two German-speaking authors, Anja Tuckermann (Berlin) and Ulrike Ulrich (Zurich), have provided beginnings of stories of migration. Now it’s your turn to take one of these beginnings and continue spinning the yarn. You are free to develop your text in any direction you choose: to write a story of flight or refuge, of identities and self-images, of encounters or new beginnings … . Your story can be set in the past, the present or the future - and in any geographical setting you wish. The only rule: it must not be longer than 250 words.

The competition is open to students at secondary schools, Sixth-Formers, undergraduates, postgraduates and anybody else who feels up to the challenge!

Visit the DAAD website to find out more and submit your entry by 6 January 2017.

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Euroquiz 2016-17

24 October 2016 (SEET)

SEET is very pleased to announce that Euroquiz 2016-17 has now officially launched! We run an annual Euroquiz for P6 pupils, promoting education about Europe and encouraging the development of foreign language skills and intercultural competencies amongst young people in Scotland.

If you are interested in finding out more about Euroquiz, visit the SEET website where you can watch our promo video, or contact jane@seet.org.uk. Primary schools will receive information via their local authority including a registration form.

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Digital Days competition for schools

21 October 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut London invites German teachers and their pupils to take part in this competition series requiring language and computer skills alike! The topic this year is Digital D.

Several categories for different levels of language skills are provided. Primary teachers and secondary teachers can choose which competition they think suits their students’ best.

To take part in the competition, visit the website and submit the registration form by 10 November 2016.

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Erasmus+ 2017 deadlines announced

21 October 2016 (Erasmus+)

All the deadlines and information on the types of activities you can apply for are contained in the 2017 Call for Proposals document and the 2017 Programme Guide both of which you can download from the Key Resources page of our website. The Call for Proposals is an overview document containing all the deadlines for 2017, while the Programme Guide contains all the detailed information on how to apply for Erasmus+ funding. You will need to read both documents when planning an application.

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Concours de la francophonie 2017

21 October 2016 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Écosse is pleased to announce the launch of the second edition of our new Concours de la francophonie to encourage all young French learners and their teachers across Scotland.

The competition is open to primary and secondary pupils and involves producing a short video in French which should be submitted by 14 December 2016.

See the attached flyer for more information about the competition and how to take part. You can also see pictures from the first edition competition on the Institut français website.

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Related Files

'It's a crying shame': teachers on scrapped A-level subjects

21 October 2016 (The Guardian)

There has been an outcry this week over minority A-levels that are being cut from the curriculum, with news that archeology and history of art will no longer be offered to sixth-form students.

Suzanne O’Farrell, Curriculum and assessment specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders discussed modern languages.

O’Farrell fell in love with languages at school. She studied French and German at A-level, then at degree level and went on to teach modern languages in schools for 28 years. This year her son started his A-levels but there was no longer an option to study either French or German. Now she’s trying to teach him herself.

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Europe's first ever bilingual Chinese-English school to open in London

19 October 2016 (The Independent)

The first school in Europe to teach all its students in both English and Chinese is to open in London next year.

Founders of Kensington Wade, a dual language independent prep school, say children as young as one will be taught in Chinese, and all those who attend the school will leave fluent.

Provisions for the school’s opening come amid renewed emphasis from the British government on the importance of teaching Chinese as a second language, in order to prepare future generations for the global market.

Read more...

Seniors pass on their Gaelic skills to learners

19 October 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A series of films to help teach Gaelic to children learning it in primary school outwith Gaelic Medium Education has been launched. 

The films star, and were made by, senior school pupils who have come through Gaelic Medium Education and are now passing on their language skills to youngsters who are just beginning to learn it. 

The films, made with the support of media professionals, form part of the Go! Gaelic programme, a comprehensive online resource developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

Read more...

Plan now to avoid post-Brexit languages crisis, say MPs

17 October 2016 (BBC News)

The government must plan now to avoid a post-Brexit languages crisis, say a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

Trade talks after leaving the EU will need more UK officials with language skills, say the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages. There is already a languages skills shortage but currently the UK can rely on other EU nationals "to plug the gap", say the group.

Ministers say their reforms are already boosting language learning in schools.

Read more...

French Film Festival school screenings

17 October 2016 (Institut français)

This year's French Film Festival takes place from 4 November - 1 December and is the only festival of francophone films in the UK.

There are screenings for primary and secondary school pupils taking place around Scotland during this time.

See the attached flyer for details of the school screenings and contact information for bookings.

Visit the French Film Festival website for the full programme.

Read more...

Related Files

Films for language learning

13 October 2016 (ALL)

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) has a focus on film this fortnight. Visit the website for links to useful film resources and the upcoming film festivals taking place this autumn around the UK. Each festival offers a selection of foreign language film screenings.

  • Discovery Film Festival (22 October - 6 November 2016) - Scotland's international film festival for young audiences.
  • Into Film Festival (9 - 25 November 2016) - a free nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.
  • French Film Festival (4 November - 1 December 2016) - the only festival of francophone films in the UK.
Visit the ALL website for more information.

Read more...

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #3

13 October 2016 (University of Cambridge)

In the third of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Jocelyn Wyburd, Director of the University’s Language Centre and Chair of the University Council for Modern Languages, argues that Brexit poses an additional threat to language learning in Britain which must be overcome.

Just one of the motivations to vote ‘Leave’ in the UK’s recent EU Referendum was a desire to limit immigration, fuelled by a wide range of issues including strains on jobs and public services, but also by discomfort (verging on fear) about multiculturalism and multilingualism in ‘Anglophone’ Britain.

We heard that Nigel Farage disliked sharing trains with people speaking languages other than English, and shortly before the referendum it was reported that a Muslim woman on a bus had been berated for not speaking English to her son, when she was actually speaking Welsh.

Wales is a proudly bilingual nation which, through its Global Futures strategy is dedicated to promoting language learning and greater cross-cultural understanding. Scotland, meanwhile, has adopted the EU-wide goal of mastery of Mother Tongue plus two languages (where Mother Tongue might be English, Scots or another language). No such goals exist for the UK as a whole or for England, though the Department for Education’s statement of purpose for the teaching of languages in English schools opens with the assertion that “learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures”.

Links to Parts 1 and 2 can also be found on the website.

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My French PE lesson

13 October 2016 (TES)

I have the privilege to work with one of the best PE teachers I know. Her name is Charlotte and we’ve been sharing not only the same office this year, but the same ideas, sometimes, and the same passion for teaching.

[..] But the event I have enjoyed the most was sports week, at the end of the summer term. It was a great chance for me to familiarise myself with one of the new methods in teaching a foreign language: Content and Language Integrated Learning. Shortly- CLIL.

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Our Europe - film competition for schools

12 October 2016 (SEET)

Our Europe 2016-17 is now open for registration!

The film-making competition for S3-S6 pupils is an annual competition run by the Scottish European Educational Trust. Teams of 4 design a storyboard outlining the film they propose to make based on the competition theme. This year the topic is global citizenship, specifically addressing one of the following themes:

  • Travel and Leisure
  • Migration and welcome
  • Trade

As always, films must include the use of at least one language other than English. This year any and all languages will be accepted in entries. All teams have to do is put their ideas into a storyboard and send them to SEET by 8 December 2016.

For more information, visit SEET's Our Europe competition website.

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Final LangOER Conference: “Open Education: promoting diversity for European Languages”

12 October 2016 (ECML)

The conference, held in Brussels on 26-27 September 2016, was an initiative of the European funded network LangOER, and was co-organised with the Educational Repositories Network – EdReNe. The event brought together experts in open education and digital content repositories, educational researchers and policy makers concerned with language education, pedagogical use of ICT, and social integration and inclusion.

Presentations and livestreams from the conference are now available online.

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SCHOLAR support for Advanced Higher modern languages

11 October 2016 (SCHOLAR / Heriot-Watt)

SCHOLAR would like to bring to your attention their support for learners at Advanced Higher French, German and Spanish tackling the Specialist Study and Portfolio. Within the ‘Culture’ area, there is an extensive set of activities taking learners through every aspect of these areas. There is also a record, downloadable as a word document in both French and German, to help learners keep a record in the target language. This has the aim of helping them both prepare for the visit of the external examiner, and collect information to allow them to present their evidence for the Specialist Study Unit in the target language.

Search for Scholar HW, or use the login link.

Log in with your ID and password, which your school has!

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DELF/DALF French exams

10 October 2016 (Alliance Française)

The next session for the DELF/DALF will take place in December 2016.

The DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) and the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi en Langue Française) are official diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of Education to certify foreign candidates’ proficiency in French. They are available at varying levels, including the DELF Junior for children learning the language.

The exams can be taken at:

Follow the relevant link above for more information and to enrol for the exam by Friday 28 October 2016.

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Brexit: Scheme extended to encourage foreign language take up

8 October 2016 (BBC News)

Addressing a serious decline in the number of Welsh pupils learning foreign languages is "urgent" following the Brexit vote, an academic has warned.

There were 700 A-level language entries in 2015 compared with 1,152 in 2009.

A scheme, which sees university students mentoring secondary school pupils, is being extended after making a "clear impact" on class numbers.

Professor Claire Gorrara said the scheme was more important than ever after the Brexit vote.

The Cardiff University professor, who leads the project, said it had led to improvements to the 28 schools involved in the pilot across Wales.

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Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #2

7 October 2016 (University of Cambridge Research)

In the second of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr Heather Inwood, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture, argues that Britain needs to improve its language skills to build trade relations and break through cultural divides.

Read more...

Related Links

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #1 (University of Cambridge Research, 26 September 2016)

Can Duolingo's chatbot teach you a foreign language?

7 October 2016 (The Guardian)

Chatbots suck. We all know it. If you want to get something done with a computer, it turns out, there are better ways to do it than laboriously type out conversational sentences to be read by a programme with a shaky grasp of the language and a gratingly affected sense of humour.

So I’m as surprised as anyone that for the past week, I’ve started every morning with a 10 minute conversation with a chatbot. In French.

The bot is the creation of Pittsburgh-based language-learning startup Duolingo, and it’s the first major change for the company’s app since it launched four years ago. In that time, the service has gained 150 million users, and stuck stubbornly to the top of the educational app charts on every platform it’s available on.

If you haven’t used Duolingo, the premise is simple: five to 20 minutes of interactive training a day is enough to learn a language.

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How a deaf teenager from Congo found her voice in poetry

6 October 2016 (STV News)

For most of her life, it seemed as though Keren Mingole would never have a place to call home.

Forced to escape war-torn country of DR Congo, the 16-year-old has been brought up in Scotland from a very early age. Not only faced with the difficulty of communicating with strangers, Keren also had to learn British Sign Language.

[..] In 2015, an opportunity arose for Keren to explore and draw from her difficult experiences as a child through a multilingual poetry contest.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition explores cultural identity, and allows pupils from P1-S6 to enter creative pieces of work and celebrate the many different languages used in schools throughout the UK.

Pupils from across Scotland are currently participating in the multi-cultural competition, which is officially endorsed by Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is also the official patron.

Keren won the 2015 Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with her poem 'Who am I?' - a composition of her journey from her native home to her current home, Scotland.

Read more...

Related Links

National Poetry Day (STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).

Inverclyde Academy pupils’ modern languages day is a winner

6 October 2016 (Greenock Telegraph)

Inverclyde Academy youngsters explored other cultures as part of a day celebrating modern languages.

Third year pupils also served up coffee and cakes to their guests, who included language ambassadors from Strathclyde University and Mandarin speakers.

Principal teacher Sarah Bell invited along experts in British Sign Language, as she widened out the European day of languages.

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Language Ambassadors Programme

6 October 2016 (University of Strathclyde)

Now in its 5th year, the Language Ambassadors Programme is offering visits to Secondary or Primary schools (and other formats too). As Language Ambassadors we will talk about our varied experiences as language learners and do our best to encourage your pupils to follow in our footsteps…

Motivation, experiences abroad, transition to First year at university, job prospects, university courses… This is what we can tell them about.

Boost your young learners’ motivation, invite us in!

For more information see the Language Ambassadors website and to organise a visit, simply contact: Cédric Moreau, c.moreau@strath.ac.uk.

Language Ambassadors at Strathclyde photo

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Celebrate National Poetry Day!

6 October 2016 (SCILT)

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is 'Messages'. To mark the occasion we've created our own triolet poem in French on this theme.

You can see the poem on the National Poetry Day webpage of our MTOT website. We hope it will provide some inspiration for those taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition in Scotland! There are lots of other poetry resources on our website too. So take a look and get creative!

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How mentoring can improve modern languages uptake in schools

6 October 2016 (The Conversation)

For some time, there have been many stories told of the “crisis” in modern languages in secondary schools and universities. There is hard evidence to support this. Even though there have been upsurges in modern languages provision – following the introduction of the English Baccalaureate for example – pupil numbers continue to fall.

In Wales, where modern languages are still an optional choice at GCSE, research shows that the number of pupils studying a foreign language declined by 44% between 2002 and 2015. The number of pupils taking French in 2015 was less than half those who took it in 2002.

But why are pupils put off taking a language at GCSE level, and how can we improve attitudes to the subjects? As a bilingual country, it seems counter-intuitive that Welsh pupils cannot see the benefits of studying languages. However, research from an engagement project we have recently been running suggests a range of things are influencing pupils’ decisions not to study a language.

The mentoring project saw undergraduate modern language students from four Welsh universities trained to work with year eight and nine pupils (aged 13 and 14) in 28 schools. The students helped the pupils to practice their language, build confidence and knowledge, and teach them how modern languages can aid personal and professional development.

Our work was part of a push by the Welsh government, to arrest and reverse the decline in modern languages study by 2020.

Read more...

Infants pay more attention to native language cues: study

6 October 2016 (Free Press Journal)

Nearly from the moment of birth, human beings possess the capacity to distinguish between speakers of their native language and other language, reports IANS. Thus, they pay more attention to native language cues in deciding where to place their focus as well as adopt to the native speakers’ cultural behaviour, a study has found.

“The study reveals the great importance of cultural and linguistic similarity in how infants choose to direct their attention,” said Hanna Marno from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

The findings show how infants and young children are tuned to quickly acquire the knowledge of their society and adapt to their cultural environment, Marno added. In the study, the researchers determined to know whether young babies would selectively pay attention to different speakers in their environment, even when they do not understand the meaning of the words.

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Theatre workshops in French

4 October 2016 (Institut français)

Drama games, improvisation, play readings... Edinburgh-based company Théâtre Sans Accents encourages you to go beyond language boundaries and explore a theatrical language made from a plurality of accents. Keep yours, and discover French in another way!

The workshops are suitable for intermediate/advanced level. The first takes place on Wednesday 12 October with further workshops scheduled in November and December.

Visit the Institut français website for more information.

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I fell in love with a Frenchman – but didn’t speak the language

2 October 2016 (The Guardian)

Author Lauren Collins explains how she and her French husband translated their feelings without resorting to Franglais.

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Euroscola 2017

30 September 2016 (European Parliament)

Euroscola brings together about 600 students from all over the European Union for a day in Strasbourg discussing aspects of European integration, in multilingual working groups of 100 students. It is open to students aged 16-18 and the European Parliament offers a subsidy towards the costs of the journey to Strasbourg.

As working groups consist of students from several member states it is essential that participants have a sound knowledge of at least one other European Union language. For practical purposes knowledge of French is necessary as during the "committee" meetings in the afternoon, students are expected to think and speak in a language other than their mother tongue. The debates are held mainly in French and English.

Applications are now open for dates between January and May 2017.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Euroscola website.

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SQA news

29 September 2016 (SQA)

The following news items from the SQA may be of interest to language teachers:

Removal of Higher exemplar question papers

Exemplar question papers (EQPs) were created as a revision resource for learners during implementation of the new Higher and Advanced Higher National Qualifications. As we now have two years' worth of past papers for new Higher as well as a specimen question paper for each subject with an exam, the EQPs will be removed from SQA's open website in the week commencing 24 October 2016. Associated guidance documents and guidance on the use of past papers documents will also be removed at this time.

The Advanced Higher EQPs and associated guidance will remain for session 2016-17 and will be removed from the website in July 2017.

Marker opportunities 2017

Are you an enthusiastic and committed teaching professional looking for a new challenge? Do you want to gain valuable insight that will benefit your students? SQA markers are at the heart of our examination operations, gaining valuable insight into assessment and quality assurance processes.

We are currently recruiting markers across all subjects and levels for the 2017 examinations.

Please note that applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience at the level they wish to mark.  Find out more about becoming an SQA marker.

Scotland strengthens links with China: top Scottish legislator

29 September 2016 (Xinhua)

The links between Scotland and the Chinese side are going from strength to strength in parliamentary, economic, cultural, and educational sectors, said a top Scottish legislator Wednesday evening.

Addressing the reception to celebrate the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh, Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh reviewed the exchange of visits of top-level officials from both sides, the Chinese language mania in Scotland, the Chinese students studying in Scotland, as well as people-to-people exchanges.

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Kenneth Baker: ‘We need design, art, music and drama in the heart of a new baccalaureate. The current EBacc doesn’t work’

28 September 2016 (TES)

21st-century pupils need a core of academic subjects supplemented by technical and creative skills, argues the former Conservative education secretary.

The current English Baccalaureate (EBacc) will not fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision for social mobility and will not equip our children with the skills they need in the 21st-century economy. There is a correlation between affluence and academic success. I wish it were not so but wishful thinking will not solve the problems of deprivation and nor will the EBacc.

The current EBacc includes a narrow set of academic GCSEs – two English, maths, two sciences (with computer science not included), a modern foreign language and a humanity (either history or geography). Seven subjects, with many schools doing a third science bringing the total to eight. On average, students are entered for 8.1 GCSEs leaving very limited space for anything other than this narrow academic diet. Ironically, students with low attainment – the very group likely to be disengaged by a purely academic curriculum – are typically entered for 6.9 exams, so the narrow EBacc would become their entire focus. What works for children in the most privileged schools will not work for everyone.

[..] Today I am publishing a proposal for a new Baccalaureate, which consists of English, maths, two sciences (one of which could be computer science), a humanity (history or geography or a foreign language), a technical subject, such as design and technology or a BTEC, and a creative option such as a GCSE in art, design, music, dance or drama.

So a foreign language would no longer be a compulsory GCSE subject, enabling those who want to study a language to continue, but not forcing hundreds of thousands of others to do so.

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Magical Christmas Trips - deadline reminder: Monday 3 October 2016

28 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Give your primary pupils the chance to experience Germany's Christmas culture in a real-life setting! This four-day visit to Berlin will give them the chance to meet German children of the same age and get involved in seasonal intercultural activities.

Two options now available: apply for a visit run by UK-German Connection or receive funding to organise your own!

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UK-German Connection flexible funding scheme

27 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

This special flexible funding scheme is designed to bring young people of the UK and Germany together to facilitate an exchange of ideas, joint learning and open discussions on special topics and current issues.

Funding is available for schools and youth groups in the UK and Germany for grants of between £500 and £5000. Activities must be joint and bilateral (UK-German) with a high level of interaction between the young people.

Current themes available under the flexible funding scheme:

  • World War 1
  • Our future in Europe - maintaining the UK-German connection
Visit the UK-German connection website for further information about the scheme and guidelines for applying.

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Dundonians should be proud of their ‘rich and beautiful’ dialect, says Scots language expert

27 September 2016 (The Courier)

Eighteen months after schools were urged to increase the use of the Scots language as part of a wider drive to improve literacy, a BBC Radio documentary, compiled by Newport-based broadcaster and Scots language expert Billy Kay, is highlighting the efforts to promote the use of Scots in Dundee. Michael Alexander reports.

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UK voted worst country in Europe at learning other languages as world video dictionary launched

26 September 2016 (The Independent)

The UK is the worst country in Europe at learning other languages new data suggests.

As part of a vote organised for European Day of Languages, Britain was revealed to be the most monolingual country in the continent.

More than one in three (35%) chose Britain as the worst in Europe for communicating in any other language apart from their mother tongue. French citizens came second in the vote with 22 per cent, followed by Italy with eight per cent.

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Antonella Sorace: Why language learning matters (now more than ever)

26 September 2016 (University of Edinburgh blog)

There is no better way to celebrate the European Day of Languages than reminding people how good it is to have more than one language in the brain. Multilingualism is a very good investment both for individuals and for societies, but this is not obvious in Scotland and the UK more generally, because of the ‘privileged monolingualism’ of English native speakers. The common perception that “everyone speaks English” makes foreign languages seem irrelevant and leads to lack of incentives to learn languages. Language skills in the UK are falling just as the need for them is growing. According to one estimate, lack of language skills costs the UK economy £48 billion a year.

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Modern languages 'at a crossroads' - new project launched today

26 September 2016 (Oxford University Arts Blog)

Today is international languages day. But in the UK, modern languages is “at a crossroads”, according to an Oxford University professor. Katrin Kohl, professor of German Literature, says the perception of languages in schools and society is suffering.

Today, she and her fellow researchers have launched a major four-year research programme to investigate the interconnection between linguistic diversity and creativity. The project, called Creative Multilingualism, will explore how being able to speak more than one language can make us more creative. There is much more information about the planned research on the project’s website.

Professor Kohl tells Arts Blog a bit more about the project.

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More funding for Gaelic learning

23 September 2016 (Scottish Government)

More than 10,000 young people will benefit from additional funding for Gaelic music, drama and language teaching.

The Scottish Government will provide £33,000 to Fèisean nan Gàidheal in 2016-17 to support Gaelic learning.

The new funding will go towards the production of a new Gaelic music, drama and dance show involving children from two Gaelic primary schools – one in the Highlands and one in the central belt.

It will also allow the organisation to offer their Fèisgoil Gaelic language lessons to local authorities that have not experienced them yet.

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Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival - Screenings for schools

22 September 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with Consejería de Educación, will launch the third Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) from 6-20 October 2016 and would like to invite schools to bring their senior phase students along to one of the screenings at the Filmhouse Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness or Glasgow.

See the attached letter of invitation for details of the programme and booking information.

For more information about the Festival, visit the ESFF website.

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Related Files

Latin should be taught in every state primary school, says leading academic

22 September 2016 (The Independent)

Latin and Classics should be taught in every primary school and not limited to the middle and upper classes, a leading academic has said.

Professor Dennis Hayes, an expert from the University of Derby and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee, has warned that Latin and ancient Greek along with modern languages are in danger of becoming “the preserve of public schools”.

Read more...

Promoting Excellence in Sign Language Instruction

21 September 2016 (ECML)

The ProSign 2 project Promoting Excellence in Sign Language Instruction aims to raise the profile of sign language (SL) teachers in Europe and to support them in their efforts to achieve excellence in their teaching, both content-wise and didactically.

PRO-Sign 2's goal is to disseminate high quality materials aligned to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and to facilitate the exchange and strengthening of expertise amongst Europe's sign language teachers to support them in their work and to raise the quality of sign language teaching and learning.

Find out more on the ECML website.

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UK-German FLA/ELA Ambassadors

21 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Applications for the UK-German Connection's FLA/ELA Ambassador network 2016-17 are now open.

The FLA/ELA Ambassadors are a network of language assistants who are working in schools in the UK and Germany. They run small projects, activities, events or clubs in order to inspire and motivate young people in their schools for the language and culture of the other country.

FLA/ELA Ambassadors run at least one project within their school or in conjunction with other schools in the area. The project is bilateral, run either with a partner Ambassador from the other country, or with an existing partner school. The aims are to enable young people to have direct, meaningful contact with young people in the other country and to make lessons come to life through active involvement in a UK-German partnership.

To find out more about the scheme and previous Ambassador projects which have taken place, visit the UK-German Connection website and apply by 14 October 2016.

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Scotland-Russia Forum news

21 September 2016 (SRF)

The latest news bulletin from the SRF is now available to view online. If you want to learn Russian there may still be a few spaces left on this term's courses. Check out the bulletin for details.

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Beginners French 1 course for primary teachers

21 September 2016 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française de Glasgow is running a new 10-week Beginners 1 French course specifically designed for primary school teachers between October and December 2016.

The course is suitable for complete beginners and will take place on Wednesdays 3.45-5.45pm between 5 October and 14 December 2016.

For more information and to enrol, visit the Alliance Française website.

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Students undervalue study and work abroad, report argues

21 September 2016 (The Pie News)

Many students who have access to international experiences during higher education don’t realise their value until after they have graduated, according to a recent survey. Study abroad, overseas internships, language courses and intercultural exchanges are all overlooked by students during their studies, it found.

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Language Immersion Days for Higher and Advanced Higher

20 September 2016 (UWS)

The Languages for All team at University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are offering language immersion classes in French, German, Mandarin or Spanish to support Higher and Advanced Higher students.

The half-day classes are designed to suit the academic needs of students who wish to enhance essential skills in language such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. These classes will prepare students for their SQA final exams.

The classes can either be held in one of the UWS campuses - Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton or Paisley. Alternatively UWS lecturers can travel to your local authority facilities.

To find out more and how to arrange a session, visit the UWS website.

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Scottish Gaelic Awards 2016

19 September 2016 (Daily Record / Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

As part of the Daily Record's drive to celebrate all aspects of Scottish culture, and following the success of the 2015 Gaelic Awards, we are proud to launch the 2016 campaign with headline sponsors Bòrd na Gàidhlig. 

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

If you know someone who deserves an award for their contribution to Gaelic, submit your nomination by Friday 25 September. A list of award categories can be found on the Scottish Gaelic Awards website.

The Awards will be presented at a high-quality dinner in Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow on Wednesday 16 November 2016.

Read more...

Erasmus+ information sessions: Autumn 2016 series

19 September 2016 (Erasmus+)

Erasmus+ will be holding a series of free half-day information sessions in 6 venues across the UK.

The sessions are for any organisation in the UK working in the sectors of education, training, youth or sport. These events will provide an overview of the funding opportunities available under Erasmus+ in 2017, and are primarily intended for newcomers to the programme.

There will be a session in Glasgow on Wednesday 2 November 2016.

For information on all the locations and to register your place, visit the Erasmus+ website.

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Chryston HS part of the Smart Choice: German Network

19 September 2016 (Chryston High School)

Chryston High School has now been named as the first Scottish school on the Goethe Institut’s Smart Choice: German network.

The network recognises the school’s commitment to German as a foreign language and the support that the school offers to our feeder primary schools.

Part of the project involves setting up a digital network which will allow us to strengthen our partnership with our feeder primary schools while promoting the benefits of learning German.

Read more...

Related Links

The Smart Choice: German - Schools' Network - Goethe-Institut website containing information about the network and how schools can get involved.

New German courses from 27 September 2016

19 September 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Due to demand the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow has opened another beginners course on Tuesday evenings. There are also some places left on their other courses.

For full details visit the Goethe-Institut website and if you'd like to join, please make sure that you enrol this week.

Read more...

We must be proud of the rise of Gaelic education

16 September 2016 (TESS)

Three decades ago, 24 children enrolled in experimental Gaelic schooling. Now thousands of children are learning the language and exploring the culture.

This has been a milestone year for Gaelic learning. The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced Gaelic-medium education (GME) provisions, assuring a national entitlement at primary-school level. New GME schools opened in Glasgow and Fort William, with building works underway in Portree, adding to three existing Gaelic schools across Scotland, and complementing departments in primary and secondary schools. And, recently, Scotland’s first director of Gaelic education, Mona Wilson, was appointed.

Read the full article in TESS online, 16 September 2016, pages 20-21 (subscription required).

Read more...

Languages 'Beyond School'

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies checks out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.

Read more...

New student profiles on the SCILT website

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

New additions to our job profile section this term come from students currently undertaking courses which also allow them to develop their language skills.

Our two latest profiles come from students in the Tourism sector:

  • Amy-Jo Fairbairn, who is studying for a HND in Travel and Tourism at the City of Glasgow college.
  • Gail Leslie who, after completing her HND course in Travel and Tourism, is now embarking on a degree in Business Studies at UWS..
Whilst choosing different languages to learn, both can see the value of language skills for their future careers and personal lives.

Read their profiles and others on our website.

Read more...

'It helped me grow up': students on why the Erasmus scheme must stay

14 September 2016 (The Guardian)

There are fears over the future of the Erasmus, a £112m EU exchange programme that allows students to spend time elsewhere in Europe as part of their degree. It’s believed that Brexit could put the scheme under threat and David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the EU, is being urged to protect it.

Here, six people talk about their experiences of the programme.

Read more...

Magical Christmas Trips to Germany 2016

12 September 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Give your primary pupils the chance to experience Germany's Christmas culture in a real-life setting! This four-day visit will give them the chance to meet German children of the same age and get involved in seasonal intercultural activities.

As part of this programme, a group of primary pupils from the UK travel to Germany with their teachers, as well as 'mentors' from a nearby secondary school to meet their German peers, learn some new German words and get a taste of Christmas in Germany.

To find out more and how to apply, visit the UK-German Connection website.

The organisation offers a number of funded activities for primary and secondary pupils and teachers, details of which can also be found on their website. Visit their funding webpage for all the grant options available.

Read more...

Deutsch mit Karla and Kai

9 September 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

‘Deutsch mit Karla & Kai’ is a scheme of work that follows on from the ‘Deutsch mit Felix & Franzi’ programme. It is intended for children who have finished two years of German at primary level, having had around 40 minutes of German per week.

‘Deutsch mit Karla & Kai’ consists of 6 chapters, each of which opens with a video clip. The films introduce the new learning and teaching content in a playful way. The learners will already have a basic knowledge of German. They will therefore be able to access completely new structures and vocabulary in the context of the stories.

Access the resource on the Goethe-Institut website.

Read more...

Spanish language course for school teachers and PGDE students

9 September 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK offer Spanish online courses for primary and secondary school teachers in Scotland and PGDE students through Aula Virtual de Español Global (AVE Global), an interactive platform specifically designed by the Instituto Cervantes for the teaching and learning of Spanish.

The course is suitable for primary and secondary school teachers in Scotland and PGDE students with or without previous knowledge of Spanish.

Course length and dates:

  • 11-week course
  • From 26 September to 4 November 2016
Visit the website for more information and to enrol.

Read more...

MTOT - Free creative poetry workshops for teachers

9 September 2016 (SCILT)

Once again, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom. Due to the creative and interactive nature of these workshops, places are limited to 15 teachers at each venue, therefore we advise you to book your place early.

Details of the workshops are as follows. Click on the appropriate workshop link below to register for the event.

  • Saturday 24 September, 10.00 – 12.30; Dundee University, Dundee (deadline for registration Friday 16 September)
  • Friday 30 September, 13.30 – 16.00; The Open University in Scotland, Edinburgh (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 1 October, 10.00 – 12.30; Inverness College - UHI, Inverness (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 8 October, 12.00 – 14.30; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (deadline for registration Friday 30 September) PLEASE NOTE EVENT NOW FULL!
For more information about the competition visit the MTOT page on our website and register your school to take part!

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HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese speaking competition

8 September 2016 (British Council)

The competition, organised by HSBC and the British Council, offers a fun opportunity for secondary students to practise and improve their Mandarin Chinese language skills.

Participating students have the chance to win a week in Beijing, visiting historical sites, interacting with Chinese students and experiencing Chinese culture.

Visit the British Council website to find out more and to apply by 7 October.

Read more...

Six professionals on why UK teenagers should learn languages

6 September 2016 (British Council Voices)

For many young people in the UK, learning another language is not a priority – only nine per cent of teenagers progressed beyond a basic level in the language they were learning in 2013. But with so many people around the globe already speaking English, I wanted to know if learning another language is really worth it. Here's what I found out from some people who would know.

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Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning

7 September 2016 (Scientific American)

The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’s “universal grammar” theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages—and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky’s assertions.

The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child’s first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all—such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things. These capabilities, coupled with a unique hu­­­man ability to grasp what others intend to communicate, allow language to happen. The new findings indicate that if researchers truly want to understand how children, and others, learn languages, they need to look outside of Chomsky’s theory for guidance.

Read more...

Pupils across England start intensive lessons in Mandarin

7 September 2016 (UK Government)

A new £10 million Mandarin excellence programme will see at least 5,000 young people on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

Hundreds of secondary school pupils in England have already begun intensive lessons in Mandarin Chinese as the first initiative of its kind is rolled out across the country.

Secondary school pupils will study Mandarin for 8 hours a week over the course of the next 4 years through the programme - a significant increase on the time pupils currently spend on the subject.

Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and is seen as important for young people in the UK to master in order for the country to remain globally competitive in the future.

Read more...

MTOT 2016-17 launch!

2 September 2016 (SCILT)

We're delighted to announce the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and are thrilled to welcome the new Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, as the competition's patron.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category.

We are in the process of finalising poetry workshops for teachers, which will take place towards the end of September/beginning of October. Further details will follow soon.

In the meantime, you can find out more about this year's competition and previous events on our MTOT website and register your school to take part!

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2016

1 September 2016 (Vocab Express)

Share in the excitement and energy generated by the Vocab Express League of Champions. The championship will run from Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October 2016. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students.

There are currently 84 free non-subscriber school places left. Visit the website for more information and to register now!

Read more...

Juvenes Translatores 2016

1 September 2016 (European Commission)

Juvenes Translatores is our annual translation contest for 17-year old students. The 2016 contest will take place on 24 November — it will be for students born in 1999.

To participate, schools must register first — between 1 September and 20 October 2016.

Visit the website for full details.

Read more...

Funding for Japanese Language Education Projects held in the UK

1 September 2016 (Japan Foundation)

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education in the UK. We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:

  • Introducing Japanese into the school curriculum
  • Supporting formal Japanese courses and qualifications
  • Japanese clubs
The next funding application deadline is 16 September 2016.

For more information about the programme and how to apply, visit the Japan Foundation website.

Read more...

Private schools uneasy over A-level languages grades, despite rise in top performers

30 August 2016 (TES)

Some schools say they are still struggling to make sense of their pupils’ grades in this year’s modern foreign languages A levels, despite reforms designed to improve the accuracy of grading, leading independent schools have warned.

Reforms introduced by exams regulator Ofqual this year have resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of A* grades awarded in French, German and Spanish, after years of complaints from schools that excessively harsh grading was deterring pupils from studying languages.

This year, the proportion of students receiving A* grades rose by 0.7 percentage points in French, 1.3 percentage points in German and 0.3 percentage points in Spanish.

But research for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) and the Independent Schools' Modern Languages Association (ISMLA) found some schools still did not believe pupils’ grades in the subjects were a fair reflection of their ability.

They said that pupils who had performed well throughout the year were scoring lower-than-expected grades while lower-performing pupils did well.

Read more...

Fresh drive for Chinese investment in Ayrshire

29 August 2016 (Carrick Today)

The drive to bring fresh investment and new jobs to South Ayrshire has been taken to an international audience from China.

South Ayrshire Council has hosted a delegation from Shanghai, in a visit which marks growing links between Scottish and Chinese cultures.

Chinese visitors currently contribute more than £100 million to the Scottish economy, with more than £530 million of goods shipped from Scotland to China in exports. China itself is the world’s largest goods exporter, reaching out to markets across the world.

[..] South Ayrshire Council has been actively working with the Confucius hub, jointly funded by the Scottish Government and Hanban Confucius Institute Headquarters, to promote Chinese language and culture in our secondary schools.

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Every language matters

26 August 2016 (TES)

We need to spread the word about our subject's worth.

If ever we needed to extend our world view and encourage young people to value languages, that time is now. The message that every language is important is more relevant than ever, whether that is learning a new language or developing one that you speak at home.

Read the full article in TES online, 26 August 2016, pages 44-45 - the piece also includes some resource suggestions. (Subscription required).

Read more...

PG Cert Streap: Gaelic Medium Education

26 August 2016 (University of Aberdeen)

Applications are now invited for a limited number of places remaining on Streap, the Postgraduate Teaching Certificate for teachers of GME, commencing in September 2016.

This part-time programme is fully funded by the Scottish Government.

For more information, visit the University of Aberdeen website.

Read more...

Cultural Classes in China

25 August 2016 (Claire Smith / CISS)

For 2 weeks in July I had the opportunity to visit Beijing on a language immersion course with a group of 20 teachers from all over Scotland. We were there as guests of the Beijing Culture and Language University to learn Mandarin and experience the culture of this amazing and, at times, intense city.

Language classes were held every morning, with the focus on vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and pronunciation. As Mandarin is a tonal language it is a challenge to learn but it proved useful when exploring a city where English is not widely spoken! In the afternoon cultural activities were organised. We visited the main landmarks of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. A trip north took us to the awe-inspiring trip to summer palaceGreat Wall. On the afternoons when we weren’t sightseeing, we stayed on the university campus to learn calligraphy, tai chi and experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

This fantastic opportunity to further my knowledge of Chinese language and culture has enabled me to develop calligraphy classmy practice – in both the teaching of Mandarin and China as an interdisciplinary topic. This term, I will also run a calligraphy class, where pupils will learn an ancient skill and the story behind the Chinese characters. For my own professional development, I am continuing to learn Mandarin through books and podcasts and in December I will take the HSK 1 exam.

This experience, along with the friendships I made and strengthened, is something I will never forget. Beijing is a city like no other – a mixture of ancient architecture and modern structures, of chaos and calm, of communism and capitalism, of east and west. At times it seemed daunting, but led by Meryl, Professional Development Officer from CISS, we were in excellent hands!

group photo on head teacher trip to China 2016

Film screenings for schools at Edinburgh Filmhouse

25 August 2016 (Edinburgh Filmhouse)

The Edinburgh Filmhouse invites primary and secondary teachers to an informal meeting and introduction to their autumn schools programme on Monday 29 August 2016.

On Monday 5 September there will also be a free screening for teachers to watch one of the films from the forthcoming French Film Festival and discuss practical ways it can be used with pupils.

Visit the Filmhouse website for full details of these events and film screenings for schools during the autumn term.

Read more...

More than two thirds of Britons reveal being BILINGUAL makes you more attractive

25 August 2016 (The Express)

Nine out of ten people confess they would learn a second language in the pursuit of love.

[..] In a recent survey of more than 3,000 people, language learning app Babbel found being bilingual makes you more attractive.

Read more...

Bilingualism workshops

25 August 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT is delighted to be able to offer a series of national workshops in collaboration with Bilingualism Matters and Glasgow City Council’s EAL Service which will showcase the benefits of bilingualism and consider practical strategies teachers can use to promote bilingualism in their classrooms. We will offer ideas on how to engage bilingual learners more and support literacy skills across both languages.

These free workshops are aimed at general class practitioners across Early Years, Primary and Secondary, not specifically for the MFL and languages community so please feel free to distribute to all teachers across your network or Local Authority.

Attached is a flyer with further information about dates, venues and how to book.

Please note there are only a few remaining places on the Aberdeen workshop - all other venues are now full.

Related Files

Funding for French exchange opportunities

24 August 2016 (British Council)

Secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges that already have a partnership with a school in France can apply for funding for reciprocal student visits.

Both Charles de Gaulle and Lefèvre trust funding is available, each offering £5000 for reciprocal visits and extended project work.

Visit British Council's Schools Online website for more information and apply by 10 November 2016.

Read more...

Raising Bilingual Children: The Pros, The Cons, The Myths

22 August 2016 (The Early Hour)

Do bilingual children have delayed language development? Is it better to become fluent in one language first? What does bilingualism actually mean? We speak to a linguist, and to parents raising their children bilingually…

Read more...

Scotland’s unending battle

21 August 2016 (The News on Sunday)

Hidden behind Edinburgh’s picturesque and dreamy scenery is the Scots’ struggle to bring the indigenous Gaelic language back to life.

Read more...

Related Links

MSP calls for councils to be able to opt out of controversial Gaelic plans (Press and Journal, 20 August 2016)

European Language Gazette

19 August 2016 (ECML)

The latest issue of the European Language Gazette is now available on the ECML website. This edition has a focus on European Day of Languages. The publication is available in English and French

Read more...

Right to Rome? The debate over Latin on the curriculum

19 August 2016 (The Guardian)

Hysteria followed Whitehall dropping Latin abbreviations from its website, but in schools the battleground is the link between the dead language and class.

Read more...

German courses 2016-17

19 August 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow offers a range of courses at different levels with new term courses starting in September. Visit the Goethe-Institut website for full details and to enrol.

Read more...

European Day of Languages 2016

19 August 2016 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated across Europe on the 26th of September every year. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone.

SCILT is helping schools across Scotland to celebrate by distributing materials developed by the ECML. These resources are free to order and act as excellent prizes and rewards.

Visit our European Day of Languages 2016 webpage for information on how to order packs, for ideas on how to celebrate, and to find out how your school could feature in our EDL2016 blog.

Read more...

French classes 2016-17

19 August 2016 (Alliance Française / Institut Français)

New session adult and children's classes commence in September at both the Alliance Française in Glasgow and the Institut Français in Edinburgh. Follow the appropriate link below for more details and to enrol:

1+2 Case Study - Douglas Academy

18 August 2016 (SCILT)

Douglas Academy is a six year non-denominational, co-educational, comprehensive school serving Milngavie, Craigton and Baldernock. The current school roll is 994.

The school demonstrates a strong ethos of fairness and equality and encourages a strong pupil voice at both departmental and whole school level. Read how pupils and teachers work together to make the language department such a success and for some interesting ideas on the implementation of 1+2.

Read more...

Host a teacher from Germany 2016-17

18 August 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Add an international dimension to your classroom by hosting a teacher from Germany for two or three weeks. It's free, flexible and provides schools with authentic cultural input.

Schools have until 21 September 2016 to apply.

For more information about the scheme and to apply, visit the UK-German Connection website.

Read more...

Calendar of UK-German opportunities 2016-17

18 August 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Plan ahead for the new school year with this at-a-glance overview of UK-German opportunities and deadlines, now available on the UK-German Connection website.

Read more...

1+2 Case Study - Renfrew High School

16 August 2016 (SCILT)

Renfrew High School is a six-year, non-denominational comprehensive school which serves the burgh of Renfrew. It is situated on the south side of the River Clyde several miles to the west of Glasgow. Its associated primaries are Arkleston Primary School, Kirklandneuk Primary School and Newmains Primary School The school was opened in 1975 and has a capacity of 1287.

In addition to the current provision of French as L2, find out how Renfrew High and its associated primaries are taking a cluster approach to delivering Spanish as an L3.

Read more...

Calls to axe SNP’s flagship Baccalaureate after snub by pupils

15 August 2016 (The Scotsman)

John Swinney is being urged to ditch the SNP’s flagship Scottish Baccalaureate qualification after it emerged that ­only 103 pupils achieved the award this year.

The qualification was introduced seven years ago with the aim of raising the profile of sciences and languages in schools.

But it has suffered from a lack of interest among pupils more focussed on Highers, which are traditionally seen as the route to university and employment.

Labour now say it should be replaced with a new Scottish Graduation Certificate for the senior phase of secondary school, which would involve vocational courses, work experience, voluntary work and traditional exams.

Read more...

Related Links

Fresh call for scrapping of unpopular Scottish Baccalaureate (The Herald, 15 August 2016)

Why being bilingual works wonders for your brain

7 August 2016 (The Guardian)

In a cafe in south London, two construction workers are engaged in cheerful banter, tossing words back and forth. Their cutlery dances during more emphatic gesticulations and they occasionally break off into loud guffaws. They are discussing a woman, that much is clear, but the details are lost on me. It’s a shame, because their conversation sounds fun and interesting, especially to a nosy person like me. But I don’t speak their language.

Out of curiosity, I interrupt them to ask what language they are speaking. They both switch easily to English, explaining that they are South Africans and had been speaking Xhosa. In Johannesburg, where they are from, most people speak at least five languages, says one of them, Theo Morris. For example, Morris’s mother’s tongue is Sotho, his father’s is Zulu; he learned Xhosa and Ndebele from his friends and neighbours and English and Afrikaans at school. “I went to Germany before I came here, so I also speak German,” he adds.

Was it easy to learn so many languages? “Yes, it’s normal,” he laughs.

He’s right. Around the world, more than half of people – estimates vary from 60-75% – speak at least two languages. Many countries have more than one official national language – South Africa has 11. People are increasingly expected to speak, read and write at least one of a handful of “super” languages, such as English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish or Arabic, as well. So to be monolingual, as many native English speakers are, is to be in the minority and perhaps to be missing out.

Read more...

Learn Portuguese for Rio, Britons urged

5 August 2016 (BBC News)

Britons "should give Portuguese a go" as the Olympics get under way in Rio de Janeiro, urges the British Council.

Almost two in five of 2,000 UK adults surveyed for the charity did not know Portuguese was the official language of host country Brazil.

More than one in 10 said the language was "Brazilian", while one in five thought it was Spanish.

Portuguese is not widely taught in UK schools but will be crucial to future trade deals, says the British Council.

Previous research by the UK's international cultural and educational organisation identified Portuguese as the sixth most important language "for the UK's prosperity, security and influence in the world over the next 20 years".

That report called for a wider range of languages to be taught in schools, based on analysis of global economic, political and educational factors.

Read more...

Related Links

Learning Portuguese: An Olympic Hurdle Too Far for Britons? (Huffington Post, 5 August 2016)

The small but wonderful world of puppet theatre - Le Petit Monde

4 August 2016 (Creative Scotland)

Le Petit Monde is a puppet theatre company based in Edinburgh, creating shows that introduce young children and their families to the French language and culture through authentic French-speaking puppets.

We spoke to Artistic Director Tania Czajka about developing her practice and her latest creation - The Wonderful World of Lapin - which appears as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next week.

Read more...

Beyond the Panda

1 August 2016 (RZSS)

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's 'Beyond the Panda' programme for schools has been designed to enable learners to explore a variety of topics within the overall context of giant pandas and China. The programme offers different activities to cater for primary and secondary pupils.

See the attached flyer for more information and how to get involved. Or visit the RZSS website for more information about the organisation and their work.

Read more...

Related Files

Welsh language target of one million speakers by 2050

1 August 2016 (BBC Wales)

A drive to almost double the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050 has been unveiled by the first minister at the National Eisteddfod.

Carwyn Jones stressed the workplace, family, schools and the planning process as the key areas for action.

Alun Davies, minister for the Welsh language, admitted it was a "deliberately ambitious" target.

But Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian called the announcement "another superficial stunt".

The 2011 census reported a drop in the number of Welsh speakers from 582,000 in 2001 to 562,000, about one in five of the population.

Traditional Welsh-speaking communities have been said to be under threat from young people moving away to find work and new housing developments attracting incomers who do not speak the language.

Ministers who launched the consultation at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, on Monday cited a growing demand for Welsh-medium education as a reason to be positive.

Read more...

What keeps me awake at night: 'Inadequate provision of modern foreign languages in primary schools'

31 July 2016 (TES)

Teaching and learning languages needs to be taken seriously, says one French teacher.

Did foreign language teaching become a statutory part of the primary curriculum back in 2014, or was that just my imagination?

Because, as we reach the end of another school year, I find myself thoroughly disappointed – and here’s why.

Having learned no more French than she did at nursery, my 10-year-old daughter has tried to use her role within the school council to campaign for better French lessons at her school, not just because she is passionate about learning languages, but because all her friends are, too.

“We only get 15 minutes,” they exclaim.

I know that, of course, for many primary schools, language teaching becoming compulsory at key stage 1 and 2 means nothing more than business as usual and many children are benefitting from well structured, fun and engaging lessons.

However, I also know that I am not the only one to be experiencing exasperation at the inadequate and quite often inaccurate provision of modern foreign languages in UK primary schools.

Read more...

German language courses

29 July 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow offers a range of courses, classes and workshops. The following are currently available for enrolment. Click on the appropriate link for further information:

For more information about the Goethe-Institut and the activities they offer, visit the website.

Read more...

Boosting foreign language GCSE entries is not the way to improve our country’s language skills – but there is a better way, insists David Harbourne

27 July 2016 (Schools Week)

The Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, wants 90% of 16-year-olds to take a foreign language GCSE.

In a recent House of Commons debate on the EBacc, he said this is necessary because “some 77% of employers say that they need more employees with foreign languages”. I take the figure with a pinch of salt, because this would mean over 3.8 million employers are clamouring for better language skills – frankly, I don’t believe it.

Nevertheless, I am instinctively in favour of languages for all. I did French O-level at school and scraped a pass. I learned French properly when I had the chance to live and work in Paris, and became a convert to the cause.

However, I’m emphatically not in favour of Nick Gibb’s crude target.

Read more...

For children with autism, multiple languages may be a boon

25 July 2016 (Spectrum)

Pediatricians, educators and speech therapists have long advised multilingual families to speak one language — the predominant one where they live — to children with autism or other developmental delays. The reasoning is simple: These children often struggle to learn language, so they’re better off focusing on a single one.

However, there are no data to support this notion. In fact, a handful of studies show that children with autism can learn two languages as well as they learn one, and might even thrive in multilingual environments.

Read more...

Related Links

Guten Tag! Why foreign languages have a place in autism education (Network Autism, 6 June 2016)

Can learning languages help refugees cope?

21 July 2016 (British Council Voices)

Marie Delaney, co-author of a new British Council report called Language for Resilience, explains how language learning has helped refugees cope with their situations.

Find out more on the British Council website.

Read more...

1+2 languages: progress from first to second level

7 July 2016 (Education Scotland)

This publication from Education Scotland is a suite of advice, frameworks and resources to support primary teachers to plan for depth and progression in modern language learning experiences. These resources were developed in conjunction with primary practitioners who deliver L2 and L3 experiences.

Visit Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub website for more information.

Read more...

1+2 languages : L3 audit tools for use in primary and secondary contexts

4 July 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published L3 audit tools for primary and secondary on the National Improvement Hub website. These tools will help practitioners to gauge whether their proposals fulfil the criteria to provide a suitable L3 experience.

Visit the website for more information.

Read more...

Latin revival: cathedral courses find new fans of 'dead language'

4 July 2016 (The Guardian)

The introduction of Latin classes in some of England’s finest cathedrals has tapped into an unexpected enthusiasm for resuscitating a subject that many have considered to be “dead as dead can be”.

At least half a dozen cathedrals have run short courses in Latin this year, with participants aged 12 to over 80.

Read more...

Why Foreign Language is essential to the STEM Fields

3 July 2016 (LinkedIn Pulse)

Being a French teacher by day and an Experimental Vehicle Team moderator by night, or at least during the other hours when I am not ensconced in all things French, has given me some unique insights into the value foreign language and STEM proficiency.

Years ago when the US Department of Education began talking about the importance of STEM in the classroom it was due, in a large part, to a lack of students pursuing STEM degrees and careers after high school, as well as a serious lack of certified educators who could adequately teach them. There is still a significant shortage of American students going into the STEM fields today, despite its prevalence in everything from education journals to Pinterest. While some may see the focus on STEM as merely another educational fad, there is a real need for candidates to fill this fast growing and under employed job niche in today’s business world, especially if we want to stay competitive in the global economy.

For one week this summer I saw first-hand the importance of foreign languages in the STEM fields as I, along with my students and fellow moderator, Mark, spent our days in a paddock and race track in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London England.

Read more...

Study uses patterns of resting-state brain waves to identify quick language learners

1 July 2016 (News Medical)

Ever wonder why some people seem to learn new languages faster? The secret might lie in the brain activity they generate while relaxing.

New findings by scientists at the University of Washington demonstrate that a five-minute measurement of resting-state brain activity predicted how quickly adults picked up a second language. The study, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), is the first to use patterns of resting-state brain waves to determine subsequent language learning rate.

Read more...

SCHOLympics competition

24 June 2016 (Heriot-Watt University)

The SCHOLympics is a multi-disciplinary, scholarly competition that is open to all students who have access to SCHOLAR via their individual username and password. It features an extensive range of questions from the subjects that are currently available in the SCHOLAR programme, including a Mandarin listening comprehension which requires speakers or headphones, and questions from our brand new, soon to be published, English courses. The questions are set at Higher level or below.

The competition will be open between Monday 25 July until Wednesday 28 August 2016.

Visit the SCHOLAR website to find out more.

Read more...

French summer courses in Glasgow

22 June 2016 (Alliance Française)

There are still a few places left on some of the Alliance Française summer courses taking place between June and September.

There are also a few places available on their children's summer workshop starting Monday.27 June.

For more information and to enrol, visit the relevant webpage on the Alliance Française website below:

Statistics and nuance – the new secrets behind learning a foreign language

21 June 2016 (European Commission)

Software that uses statistics to adapt to your learning style and greater insight into how the brain processes ambiguity and nuance are helping scientists design new ways to learn a foreign language.

Dr Mait Müntel, CEO and co-founder of EU-backed start-up Lingvist, is an unlikely language-learning entrepreneur. He was working as a physicist at the CERN lab in Switzerland, part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson, when he had the idea that he has developed into a growing business.

Read more...

Vocab Express League of Champions 2016

20 June 2016 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school to kick-start the new academic year!

Share in the excitement and energy generated by the Vocab Express League of Champions. The championship will run from Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October 2016. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 100 free school places available to non-subscribers.

Visit the League of Champions website to find out more and to register for one of the free school places. 

Read more...

Mathematiques sans Frontieres 2016

20 June 2016 (North Lanarkshire Council)

North Lanarkshire Council in association with Heriot Watt University once again organised winners at mathematiques sans frontieresthe “Mathematiques sans Frontieres” competition across Scotland this year.

63 teams took part from 39 schools and 18 schools entered an S5 team.

The competition requires one question to be answered using a foreign language.winners at mathematiques sans frontieres

The winners in S4 were Renfrew High and the S5 winners and overall winners were St Aloysius College.

The prize giving was held on Friday 17 June at Heriot Watt University. Gavin Reid gave an informative talk on probability which resulted in one lucky pupil winning an Amazon gift voucher!

Angelina Jolie's six children speak seven languages, actress reveals

17 June 2016 (Telegraph)

Any parent will know that each of their children is unique. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's brood seem to have taken that to a new level, with six children each learning a different language. In lessons that will surely benefit their future holidays, the Jolie-Pitt children can speak Khmer, Vietnamese, German, Russian, French, Arabic and sign language, the actress revealed. In a programme for Radio 4's Woman's Hour, which she guest-edited, Jolie spoke of how her children had adapted to their lives travelling around the world.

Read more...

LanguageStrathclyde: A conversation about Language Learning

17 June 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages and the School of Education, University of Strathclyde hosted an afternoon of seminars led by language practitioners, students and academics on various strands of language learning including bilingualism, motivation and translanguaging.

SCILT has used Storify to summarise the discussions from the day. Visit our Storify page for a flavour of the event.

Read more...

Comic take on French language lessons

16 June 2016 (BBC News)

Children at a Glasgow primary school have been using comics to help them learn French.

Artist Rossie Stone, who is dyslexic, decided to try a different approach to picking up another language and designed the comic strips to be educational and fun.

The move has been popular with teachers and pupils with the project now being rolled out in five schools across Scotland.

BBC Scotland's Catriona Renton has gone back to school to report from Glasgow.

See the video report on the BBC website.

Read more...

The Smart Choice: German schools' network

15 June 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

This opportunity is currently not available.

Just published - Issue no. 31 of the European Language Gazette

15 June 2016 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available and can be accessed, in English and French, via the ECML website.

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Native speakers ‘put rest at disadvantage' in languages exams

10 June 2016 (The Telegraph)

Native speakers of foreign languages could be putting others at a disadvantage when taking A-levels, it has emerged, as the exams regulator launched an investigation into the issue.

It is understood that a larger number of pupils who speak French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian as their native language are taking A-levels in those subjects.

Some claim this is leaving those who study them as a second language at a disadvantage.

And now Ofqual has requested details on the number of native speakers who are taking this subjects, the Times Educational Supplement reported.

In a letter to schools, Ofqual said it would use the information to determine “whether any action needs to be taken”.

Read more...

Edinburgh International Film Festival modern languages screenings for schools

10 June 2016 (EIFF)

The following modern language screenings are being offered for schools in Scotland:

  • French language primary screening (P4-P7) - The Canterville Ghost
    21 June 2016, 10.00 am, Cineworld Fountain Park
  • Spanish language secondary screening - The Olive Tree
    22 June 2016, 10:00 am, Cineworld Fountain Park
Visit the Edinburgh International Film Festival website for more information and to make a booking.

Read more...

Dr Alasdair Allan addresses parliament in Norwegian

9 June 2016 (Scottish Parliament TV)

Hear the Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Alasdair Allan, address the Scottish Parliament in Norwegian to mark the 750th anniversary of the Treaty of Perth.

Read more...

Articulate Language Camps

9 June 2016 (Articulate Language Camps)

Articulate Language Camps are based in Scotland and offer a variety of programmes from school day camps to residential summer camps as well as exam revision and CPD for teachers.

Tuition is offered in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German to learners aged 3-17, with a unique method of teaching through digital media projects, such as animation and podcasting, and adventure activities which take learning into the great outdoors. So, whether campers are taking an archery class in German, singing campfire songs in French or making a film in Spanish, they are having fun while learning in a meaningful way.

New this year is the International Camp in Italian. Find out more from camp leader, Lisa, in this short video 'Una breve introduzione ai nostri programmi' and for further information about Articulate Language Camps and all their programmes, visit the website.

Read more...

Essential German: Intensive course for complete beginners

9 June 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Are you planning a visit to a German-speaking country, would you like to be able to speak with German-speaking friends in their native tongue or would you like to learn a bit of German just for fun? If you are a complete beginner, this one-week intensive course is for you!

The course will run from 27 June to 2 July 2016. Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and enrol by 17 June.

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Scottish Education Award Winners 2016

9 June 2016 (SCILT / Education Scotland)

The Scottish Education Awards took place on 8 June in the Glasgow City Hotel. Congratulations to the winning schools in the language categories!

  • St Michael's Primary, Dumfries & Galloway - Making Languages Come Alive
  • Abercorn School, Glasgow - Gaelic Education
For more information about the awards and the finalists in each category, visit the Scottish Education Awards website.

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An effective way to kick start primary languages

7 June 2016 (ilanguages)

In September 2014 KS2 modern language teaching became compulsory in English primaries for children from the age of 7. Given that the vast majority of primary teachers are not trained or confident linguists this has been a challenge for many schools; especially as the new curriculum requires considerable learner progress in the four years leading up to secondary school.

Juliet Park and Wendy Adeniji, practising teachers and nationally renowned trainers and authors of creative resources decided to develop a scheme of work which would support teachers of all linguistic abilities. Additionally, they wanted to ensure that teachers had a comprehensive set of integrated resources which would work in harmony and be easy to follow.

The resources include pedagogical approaches which were presented at the language show in Glasgow in March such as Kagan co operative learner and Talk4Writing. These approaches raise engagement and also literacy levels and are equally useful to other areas of the curriculum.

The packs also include two effective approaches to teaching French and Spanish phonics, a key element for improving learner confidence in pronunciation and making the sound spelling link. Songs have also been embedded into the scheme from the Aberdeen based company The Language Factory.

To ensure children can get further practice between lessons, an app to support the scheme is being launched in the autumn.

The reaction from teachers using the ilanguages resources has been overwhelming and it is fast becoming the scheme of choice in England.

Helen Walker from Hursthead school says ‘my learners have made double the progress than in the past and I am an experienced teacher’

Richard Williams from High Lane school commented that he is a complete beginner in French but he ‘can rely on the resources do the talking because it’s such a user friendly scheme’.

Teachers can download free starter packs from the ilanguages website.

Juliet and Wendy are now looking to set up regional hubs in Scotland to support teachers in the 1+2 initiative. This will include expert training on the delivery of French and Spanish to regional networks and access to free resources.

If you would like to become a regional hub to support your local network please contact Juliet on julietpark@icloud.com. First come first served! 

Find out more about ilanguages and what they can offer to primary and secondary schools on their website.

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Mock Council 2016

3 June 2016 (British Council eTwinning)

Do your students want to learn to negotiate in an international environment?

Don't forget you can now apply to be one of 30 schools from across England and Scotland to take part in the annual Mock Council of the European Union, to be held at the Foreign Office in London on Thursday 17 November.

In the Mock Council, 30 schools are each assigned the role of an EU member state or an EU institution and simulate a meeting of the EU's Council of Ministers on two topical EU policy proposals. Two students from each school must research these policy areas and represent their adopted country or institution at the Council meeting.

Students are encouraged to use foreign languages where possible in the discussions to reflect the multilingual nature of the EU; interpretation into English is provided.

This year there will be an additional role for one school to represent 'the media'. The aim of this role will be to generate interest before, during and after the event, through interviewing participating schools.

Applications are welcome from secondary and further education colleges across England and Scotland. The application deadline has been extended to 12 noon on 9 June 2016.

Further information and application forms can be found on the Mock Council 2016 website, along with highlights from the 2015 event.

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MOOC: Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

3 June 2016 (Future Learn)

This free 3-week online course, commencing 13 June 2016, will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

Our languages are an essential part of who we are as human beings. They are instruments of communication and are often a source of dignity and of human pride. Our life experiences and views of the world are bound up in our languages.

In week 3 you can hear about the Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition, where school pupils are invited to express themselves either in the language they speak at home or in one they are learning at school, and which will be run again in Scotland by SCILT in the new term.

For more information about the course and to enrol, visit the Future Learn website.

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The UK-German Bears project - apply now to host Alex and Ben

3 June 2016 (UK-German Connection)

Alex and Ben, our UK-German bears, are preparing for their travels again and can't wait to find out who they'll visit next! We can match you up with a German partner school to work with on this fun, interactive three-week project for primary children, which helps them learn about each other's language and culture.

Find out more about the project and available hosting dates on the UK-German Bears website.

UK-German Connection offers a variety of funded activities including professional development opportunities for teachers to visit Germany, the chance to host a German teacher at your school, as well as a Youth Ambassadors programme for young people interested in German language and culture.  See the calendar of opportunities available on the UK-German Connection website for full details.

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French summer intensive classes in Edinburgh

2 June 2016 (Institut français)

The Institut français offers one-week summer intensive courses in July and August with a concession fee for teachers. This 15 hour-course will focus on speaking skills through theatre or radio workshops.

Four levels are available : beginners (A1), elementary (A2), intermediate (B1) and advanced (B2)

For more information, see the Summer 2016 brochure or visit the Institut français website for details of all the courses, events and resources they offer.

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Funding for Japanese Language Education Projects held in the UK

1 June 2016 (Japan Foundation)

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which promote Japanese language education in the UK. We prioritise projects that fit into one of the three following categories:

  • Introducing Japanese into the school curriculum
  • Supporting formal Japanese courses and qualifications
  • Japanese clubs

The next funding application deadline is 17 June 2016.

For more information about the programme and how to apply, visit the Japan Foundation website.

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Connecting Classrooms school partnership programme

31 May 2016 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is a global education programme brought to you by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID).

It offers a free learning journey which helps you to improve your classroom practice and develop your ideas with like-minded teachers internationally.

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, the British Council aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

To find out more about the programme and how to take part, visit the British Council Schools Online website, where you can also hear a participating teacher reflect on her time visiting Nigeria with Connecting Classrooms.

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Schools say au revoir to languages, while universities proclaim Guten Tag

31 May 2016 (The Guardian)

Universities are offering languages such as French and German from scratch to counteract the decline of modern foreign languages at A-level.

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Donkey Xote for Primary Schools in the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival

31 May 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

After the great success of previous years, Edinburgh University, in collaboration with the Consejería de Educación, is going to launch the third Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) from 6-13 October 2016. We would be glad to share this experience with you. For this reason we are currently planning our programme which also includes an animation film particularly suitable for primary school pupils (P6 and P7).

See the attached flyer for more information.

TeachMeet Connect Launch

31 May 2016 (TeachMeet Scotland)

On Wednesday 21 September 2016 TeachMeet Connect is being launched, a series of TeachMeets happening across Scotland on the same day where teachers will get together and share what they do. Coinciding with the Scottish Learning Festival, this will be a celebration of all the good things happening in classrooms across Scotland and a chance to explore how TeachMeets can support professional development.

Whether you’ve been to loads of TeachMeets before or this will be your first, this is your chance to get connected to other teachers in Scotland who want to share too. We’d love you to get involved and hold a TeachMeet Connect of your own.

Why not set up a TeachMeet devoted to language teaching and learning? It's a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and share ideas and best practice. Visit the website to find out more and to register your interest in taking part.

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Summer French story sessions for children

31 May 2016 (East Lothian Council)

30 minute French story sessions for children aged 4 to 7 years old are being held in different locations across East Lothian during the summer holidays.

Visit East Lothian Council's website for more information.

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SQA Modern Languages update - May 2016

31 May 2016 (SQA)

The SQA has recently published their National Qualification update for Modern Languages.

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Deutsch für dich

30 May 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Register to join the learning and teaching community free of charge to help learn and improve your German.

Find out more in the 'Deutsch für dich' promotional video and visit the Goethe-Institut website to register.

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New ECML publications and websites now available

27 May 2016 (ECML)

The results of 14 projects from the Learning through languages programme are now available online. A summary of these rich resources and websites is presented in the online brochure, offering
  • a brief description of each resource, including the key target audience;
  • the languages in which each resource is available;
  • the thematic area on the ECML website where each resource has been located.
Over the coming weeks the results from each of the projects will also be showcased individually on the ECML website.

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Summer language learning at Strathclyde

27 May 2016 (University of Strathclyde)

The University of Strathclyde's 2016 summer programme includes options to learn French, German, Italian and Spanish as well as a taster session 'Break into Hebrew.'

Visit the website to access the programme giving full details of the courses available over the summer.

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The benefits of teaching languages outdoors

24 May 2016 (Innovate my school)

In the beginning, human beings were not designed to spend hours each day surrounded by brick walls. They were naturally programmed for survival, for the great outdoors with its unpredictability, and each day provided naturally occurring learning opportunities which were a necessity if our ancient ancestors were to survive. 

[..] Combining language learning with being outside, enjoying nature and teaching the use of natural resources and the local environment around learners makes for a stimulating, enriching opportunity. This is relevant to the context of a school or community, and which can be developed and linked to a much wider global context. One very effective way to do this in Scotland, and beyond, is by combining language learning with the John Muir Award.

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Scottish Education Awards 2016 - Finalists announced!

23 May 2016 (Education Scotland)

Finalists in the 17 categories for the Scottish Education Awards 2016 have now been announced.

Congratulations and good luck to the schools nominated in the following language categories:

Making Languages Come Alive

  • St Michael's Primary School
  • St Blane's Primary School
  • Dalmilling Primary School

Gaelic Education Award

  • Abercorn School
  • Sgoil an Iochdair agus Sgoil Dhalabroig
  • Bun Sgoil Chnoc a' Chonaisg | Whinhill Primary
More information about the awards can be found on the Scottish Education Awards website.

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Football and German - Materials for your German classroom

23 May 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Popular events like the European Football Championship 2016 provide ample opportunities for motivating young learners. The Goethe-Institutes in France have developed some practice materials for the German classroom suitable for various levels and ready for kick off.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website to download the free resources.

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Mock Council of the European Union 2016

16 May 2016 (British Council eTwinning)

Do your students want to learn to negotiate in an international environment?

Don't forget you can now apply to be one of 30 schools from across England and Scotland to take part in the annual Mock Council of the European Union, to be held at the Foreign Office in London on Thursday 17 November.

In the Mock Council, 30 schools are each assigned the role of an EU member state or an EU institution and simulate a meeting of the EU's Council of Ministers on two topical EU policy proposals. Two students from each school must research these policy areas and represent their adopted country or institution at the Council meeting.

Students are encouraged to use foreign languages where possible in the discussions to reflect the multilingual nature of the EU; interpretation into English is provided.

This year there will be an additional role for one school to represent 'the media'. The aim of this role will be to generate interest before, during and after the event, through interviewing participating schools. 

Applications are welcome from secondary and further education colleges across England and Scotland. The application deadline is 29 May 2016.

Further information and application forms can be found on the Mock Council 2016 website, along with highlights from the 2015 event.

Read more...

An exchange with a visible difference

16 May 2016 (British Council)

Transferable and vocational skills are providing a focal point for an exchange between specialist colleges for visually impaired students in the UK and France.

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Schadenfreude and déjà-vu: Reasons to learn languages 2

12 May 2016 (TES)

So you’ve told them what the point is. And why it matters. Then some bright spark who thinks adults have made rather a mess of things says: ‘But wouldn’t it be more sensible if we all spoke the same language?’ Prompting someone else to chime in: ‘Yeah, why didn’t the people who invented language just stick with one?’

Once again, this is a gift. Not least to the biblically minded: never will there be a better opportunity to rehearse the story of Babel, and to reinforce the point that yes, had we humans been a better-behaved bunch, and not cheeked our teachers so much in our infancy, then no, maybe the nightmarish multiplicity of languages would not have been visited upon us as some kind of torturous punishment. Which is how some youngsters with a penchant for melodrama like to perceive it.

More fruitfully, there is the chance to reflect on how language works. To dispatch any notion of a benevolent deity bestowing a fully-fledged fully-functioning language upon the world (even the Book of Genesis has Adam doing the job in a rather tentative, experimental way), and to consider instead the way language evolves organically alongside the humans who use it.

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Film producer aims to raise questions about language in the classroom

11 May 2016 (The Herald)

There are 72 indigenous languages spoken in Zambia. In the classroom, however, pupils are taught in none of them. As a new Scottish film, The Colours of the Alphabet, reveals, English is the language of education in the country.

Current estimates suggest that nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language. It is a problem that is increasingly felt in Scotland too as the country becomes increasingly multicultural.

In Zambia, the film’s Scottish producer Nick Higgins points out, teaching in English is something of a colonial hangover. It also is a result of an impoverished education system that can’t afford to produce material in indigenous languages. But he hopes the film will also raise questions about our own attitudes towards language in schools in Scotland and beyond.

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Some people really DO have a flair for languages: Brain patterns predict how quickly someone will learn a foreign tongue

11 May 2016 (Daily Mail)

For some, picking up a foreign language almost comes as second nature while others stumble over the jumble of unfamiliar words and phrases.

A study has revealed the secret that may lie behind these differences in the ability to learn a new language - the rhythm of electrical activity in their brain.

Scientists at the University of Washington found people who were better at acquiring a second language had higher activity in key parts of their brain when resting than those who struggled.

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Internships in China

9 May 2016 (Generation UK/British Council)

Whether you’re looking to pick up an internship in accounting, architecture, engineering or just about any other industry, Generation UK-China can help provide funding for your trip and make sure you make the most of your time in China.

Companies across the world are looking to engage with China, and value employees with experience in China immensely. New industries and work opportunities in China are rising up faster than the skyscrapers that accommodate them. Developing a connection with China could be the smartest choice you can make right now.

There are two-month internships available for applicants aged 18 years and over who are currently enrolled full-time at a UK university or who have graduated from a UK university within the past year. Whilst the ability to speak Mandarin is not essential, it is recommended successful applicants learn some of the basics.

Full details of the available opportunities, funding and application process can be found on the British Council's Study, Work, Create web portal.

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Launch of High Five Spanish

9 May 2016 (Radio Lingua)

Radio Lingua is delighted to announce the launch of High Five Spanish which follows a similar model to our French resource. Learners can join Scottish learner Sophie who is learning Spanish, in Spain, with her friends Marina and Miguel.

We’re making the trial version of High Five Spanish available to all schools until 30 June. All existing High Five French schools are ‘pre-approved’ and the Spanish trial will automatically appear on their account. Any other schools should register for the free trial on the Radio Lingua High Five Spanish website and we’ll set up trial accounts for them. The free trial provides access to the first ten lessons of the series including video and audio resources, teachers’ notes, classroom ideas and activity sheets for pupils.

Visit the High Five Spanish website for full details about the resource.

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"The Art of Music - Ooh La La La"

6 May 2016 (TESS)

Some 1,000 children gathered in Perth for a musical event celebrating an imaginative approach to the national 1+2 primary school languages policy.

"The Art of Music Ooh La La La" brought P5-7s to the city's concert hall to sing French songs inspired by famous paintings.

Read the full item in TESS online 6 May 2016 edition, page 8, 'A week in primary' section (subscription required).

Read more...

Related Links

Singing days get a French twist in 2016 (Perth & Kinross Council, April 2016)

From autism to Chinese, a headset to help you with your language

4 May 2016 (New Scientist)

Learning a tonal language like Chinese is notoriously difficult – it’s easy to end up calling your mother a horse. But soon there could be a wearable headset that can help.

The system was created for people with autism who want help with social interactions, but it could be adapted to help with speech or anxiety problems – or even language learning, says LouAnne Boyd at the University of California at Irvine, part of the team that designed it.

Read more...

German for children - films in lessons

2 May 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Children love films. They ensure variety and entertainment in lessons – and support the learning process. What should teachers look out for when they use them in lessons? Here are some tips and practical examples.

Read more...

On her first birthday, Princess Charlotte already knows much about language

2 May 2016 (The Conversation)

Princess Charlotte, the youngest member of the British Royal Family, is turning one. While there will be plenty of focus from sections of the mainstream UK media on the official pictures released by the palace, much has been going on behind the scenes. Many infants say their first word around the time of their first birthday and for most people, this is when language learning really starts. But by the time Charlotte says her first word, she actually already knows a lot about language.

In fact, for hearing children, language acquisition starts in the womb. During the third trimester, the foetus can hear, and it is the mother’s voice that they hear best. Not surprisingly, then, newborns prefer their mother’s voice over other female voices, but not their father’s voice over other male voices. Sorry, dads.

But newborns' preferences are not just about different voices. Newborns also prefer their native language over other languages. For example, two-day-old infants born to English-speaking mothers prefer listening to strangers who speak English than to strangers who speak Spanish, and vice versa. Newborns also recognise stories that were read to them in the womb and can distinguish vowel sounds that exist in their native language from those that don’t. Even the melody of newborns' cries is influenced by their native language.

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The key to learning a new skill? Wanting it badly enough

30 April 2016 (The Guardian)

Hyperpolyglot, linguist and language ambassador, Matthew Youlden, shares his motivational tips for learning languages and more.

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SALT schools modern languages competition 2016

30 April 2016 (SALT)

The SALT schools competition 2016 is open to all students studying a modern language in a Scottish primary or secondary school.

This year’s topic is Friendship and Solidarity and pupils are invited to submit a poster, Powerpoint presentation, or a short video (maximum 3 mins) containing foreign language expressions related to the topic.

Entry deadline is 2 September 2016.

Visit the SALT website for more information and a poster to download for your classroom.

Read more...

Colours of the Alphabet screenings in Scotland

29 April 2016 (Colours of the Alphabet)

Liz Lochhead will be launching the Scottish preview tour of 'Colours of the Alphabet' at the GFT on 11 May and taking part in a post screening discussion on the relationship between language and childhood with director Alastair Cole and producer Nick Higgins.

The launch event will mark the opening night of a run of 11 screenings and discussions across Scotland during which the filmmakers and guest contributors will discuss the issue of mother-tongue education and the impact of teaching additional languages in primary schools.

Visit the website for a full list of dates and venues and to secure your tickets. Places are limited.

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By the numbers: Modern languages

29 April 2016 (TESS)

TESS infographic on modern languages uptake in England and Scotland comparing 2012-13 and 2014-15 academic sessions.

Access the article in TESS online, 29 April 2016, page 11. (Subscription required).

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MTOT 2015-16 Celebration Event held at Language Show Live

29 April 2016 (SCILT)

The celebration event for MTOT 2015-16 saw 20 award winners receive their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SECC on Saturday 12 March 2016 as part of the wider Language Show Live Scotland event.

Pupils took the opportunity to perform their poems and rhymes to the audience, showcasing the many languages used by children and young people both in school and at home. The event drew in a huge crowd, with passers-by stopping to also see and hear their work.

Find out more about the day on our MTOT Celebration Event webpage, where you can also find links to the list of winners, pupil videos and recitals, the anthology, press articles and photos from the event.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their support and participation, which helped make the competition and celebration such a success. We hope to run MTOT again next year, so make sure you sign up to our e-bulletin for updates, or follow us on our social media sites Twitter or Facebook.

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The Language Magician - German for children

28 April 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

One of the main aims of this Erasmus+ project is to develop an assessment tool to be used in primary schools called THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN. The game will be fun for the children, build on their language and IT-skills and provide information on their progression. It will support teachers by giving them a tool to assess their pupils’ abilities using non-threatening testing methods and hopefully also increase the enjoyment of learning a foreign language at this age.

The project is still under development, but visit the Goethe-Institut website to find out more.

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New online group courses in German enrolling now

28 April 2016 (Goethe-Institut)

Would you like to learn German in a group although you can’t come to our institute? Do you travel a lot for work and therefore would like to study at any place and time? Do you prefer a more intensive course? Then join our German online group course! Not only will you learn in collaboration with other students - you will also cover an entire level in 16 weeks (based on 6-7 hours of course work per week).

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to enrol. Course commences 17 May 2016.

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Ojalá and Adiós: Reasons to learn languages

28 April 2016 (TES)

'Why bother?', they ask. 'Everyone speaks English anyway.' Or worse still: 'What's the point? I'm never going to go to France/Germany/Spain/Argentina.'

There isn't a language teacher in the land who hasn't been confronted with these truculent questions, usually at some critical transitional moment when whichever child it is has started taking too much notice of his or her parents (or possibly Jeremy Paxman). Younger children tend to be more open-minded and inclusive.

It's a gift actually: an open door to serious discussion. And the great thing is, there are so many compelling answers.

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French language courses and exams in Glasgow

28 April 2016 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow has a number of courses and exam sessions coming up in the summer. Follow the appropriate links below for more information:

For more information about the Alliance Française and what they can offer, visit their website.

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Identity 2016: Why I stopped mispronouncing my Igbo name

27 April 2016 (BBC News Magazine)

In Nigeria, the language spoken by one of the largest ethnic groups, the Igbo, is in danger of dying out - which is odd because the population is growing. In the past this didn't worry the BBC's Nkem Ifejika, who is himself Igbo but never learned the language. Here he explains why he has changed his mind.

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Study a language at LSE this summer

25 April 2016 (LSE careers blog)

Did you know that the LSE Language Centre offers summer courses? Each year, ‘Summer Languages’ has grown to include more languages, levels and courses of different levels of intensity. You may want to consolidate the language skills you have learned during the academic year, or you may want to try learning a language as a beginner. You could even restart learning a language you were taught at school.

More information about all the courses and languages available can be found on the LSE Summer Languages website.

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Speaking your language blog

25 April 2016 (SCILT)

Speaking your language is a new blog showcasing current classroom practice. The first post from Dalmarnock Primary School highlights the importance of:

  • having lots of staff who have undertaken language upskilling,
  • celebrating the cultural diversity of the school community, and
  • learning about the culture(s) as well as the language
Read their entry on our new blog now.

Read more...

Gaelic language course

22 April 2016 (Staffin Community Trust / Bòrd na Gàidhlig)

Àrainneachd, Cànan is Dualchas (‘environment, language and heritage’) is a ten-day practical course for Gaelic speakers that explores the strong links between the language and the Scottish environment. It is open to all fluent speakers and near-fluent learners of the language who would like to continue to develop their fluency.

It will run again in North Skye in 2016, from 25 to 29 July and from 01 to 05 August. Students can attend either or both weeks.

Visit the website for more information about the course.

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Community languages saved to ensure diverse curriculum continues

22 April 2016 (UK Government)

Government action means GCSEs and A levels in a range of community languages such as Panjabi, Portuguese and Japanese are to continue to ensure young people can carry on studying a diverse range of foreign languages.

The news, announced today (22 April 2016) by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, marks a significant step for the government in its efforts to extend opportunity to young people and equip them with the skills they need in what is an increasingly global economy.

It follows a government commitment in 2015 to protect a number of language GCSEs and A levels after the exam boards announced that from 2017 they would be withdrawing several courses. In May 2015, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to the exam boards during the pre-election period to convey her concern about their decisions to stop offering GCSEs and A levels in certain languages.

Read more...

Related Links

Community languages continue as vital part of our curriculum (Speak to the Future, 22 April 2016)

Nicky Morgan: How we are reversing Labour’s failure to teach modern languages in Britain

22 April 2016 (Conservative Home)

As Education Secretary, and as a Conservative, I am passionate about making sure every child can access a great education. We have more pupils than ever before in good or outstanding schools, but I want to go further and make sure that every single child can fulfil their potential.

 That commitment includes making sure that children study a range of core subjects, including foreign languages. The ability to speak and understand a foreign language isn’t just a skill that is valued by employers: it helps pupils understand different cultures and countries, broadening horizons and preparing them to succeed in an increasingly globalised world.

After all, one of Britain’s strengths is its rich and diverse society. Ensuring young people have the opportunity to study the widest range of languages is integral to that. I want every child to have that chance – regardless of their background, gender or race.

Read more...

Summer courses for UK teachers of Spanish

20 April 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Spanish Embassy Education Office offers 11 grants for summer courses in Santander (Spain), aimed at teachers of Spanish in the UK.

These grants are awarded by the Ministry of Education of Spain in collaboration with Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP), and cover course fees, materials, accommodation, meals and activities (journey not included).

If you are interested, please apply from 18 April to 2 May 2016 by following the instructions on the website.

Read more...

SQA National 5 Modern Languages Course Reports Summary

19 April 2016 (SCILT)

We have summarised the SQA National 5 Course Reports for all languages. These reports contain important information on how candidates performed in last year's exams. Teachers may find it useful to share some of the key messages of these reports with candidates in advance of this year's exams.

The summary document can be found on the Essentials for Planning in the Senior Phase section of our website.

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New French and Polish resources

19 April 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland is pleased to launch new resources for French and Polish. Both resources include teacher’s notes, activity packs, film clips and sound files.

The French resource is designed as an L2 learning journey, aimed at second level learners and involves Astérix on a journey to Scotland, based on the story ‘Astérix chez les Pictes’

The Polish resource supports an L3 beginners’ language experience and can be used in either primary or secondary as an L3 insert. The language journey here is based on an animated film, based around the scientist Copernicus.

Links to both resources can also be found in the Primary and S1-S3 classroom resource sections of the SCILT website.

STEM is missing an important subject: languages

19 April 2016 (Transparent Language)

US policymakers and administrators have long touted better STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) as a way to bridge achievement gaps and spark innovation.

The pressure is coming all the way from the top; the Obama administration aims to increase the number of students receiving undergraduate degrees in STEM fields by 1 million over a 10-year period, claiming “science and innovation are key components of a strong American economy and that increasing opportunities for young Americans to gain STEM skills can both create jobs and enhance our national competitiveness.” We don’t disagree.

But STEM should not be promoted at the expense of other subjects, particularly foreign languages.

Language itself is already the subject of much STEM research. The federal government has funded research projects in computational linguistics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and translation, among other fields. These projects have been funded by numerous STEM organizations, from the National Science Foundation to the National Institutes of Health. This research has brought us revolutionary new developments in machine translation and localization, both of which are crucial in making research, news, media, and beyond accessible worldwide. Innovative technologies have also significantly improved the way languages are taught and learned, allowing students to learn languages faster and retain them longer.

None of this seems entirely essential until you understand how much America’s STEM industries depend on language.

Read more...

The Languages Trends Survey 2016

18 April 2016 (British Council / Education Development Trust)

Teachers have expressed 'deep concerns' about the current state of language learning in schools in England, according to a new report from the British Council and Education Development Trust.

The Language Trends Survey 2016 - now in its fourteenth year - identifies numerous challenges currently facing language teaching in England and highlights that teachers and school leaders see the exam system as one of the principal barriers preventing its successful development.

[...]The Language Trends Survey 2015/16 is the 14th in a series of annual research exercises, charting the state of language teaching and learning in schools in England. The research is based on an online survey completed by teachers in 492 state secondary schools, 556 state primary schools and 132 independent secondary schools across the country. This year, case studies from both primary and secondary schools have been included to provide a more detailed picture of what is happening on the ground.

Read more...

Spanish language online courses for school teachers, PGCE students and general public

11 April 2016 (Instituto Cervantes)

The Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK offer Spanish Online Courses for Primary and Secondary School Teachers and PGCE students through AVE Global, an interactive platform specifically designed by the Instituto Cervantes for the teaching and learning of Spanish.

Course length and dates

  • 10 weeks: 18 April 2016 – 1 June 2016
You must enrol before the start date of the course.

Levels

  • From A1.1 to B1.4

Fee

  • Primary and Secondary School Teachers and PGCE students with or without previous knowledge of Spanish: £95. Course code: 658
  • General public: £150. Course code: 656
How it works

Students will receive a schedule with the online material to be completed throughout the course. A reminder of this work will be sent every week. The course tutor will also set a number of written tasks to practice the contents covered. The tutor will send all tasks back with corrections and personalized feedback. The course also includes 9 self-evaluation tests.

Courses include access to the online interactive material (text, audio and video), self-evaluation tests, written tasks corrected by the course tutor and a final certificate, provided the course is completed successfully.

Study time and hours

On average, students will have to work 5 or 6 hours per week (10 week course, fast track). They will have unlimited 24/7 access to the online material for the duration of the course and they will not need to go online at specific times.

Certificate

The Instituto Cervantes will issue a certificate on request stating that the student has completed the online course, provided that all the online compulsory work has been done and a minimum of five tasks have been sent to the tutor.

How to enrol

  1. If you are a complete beginner please contact Instituto Cervantes London on 0207 23 503 53 with your personal details and provide your School or Department details or write to: aclon1@cervantes.es
  2. If you have some knowledge of Spanish, go to http://pruebadenivel.cervantes.es/exam.php?id=17 to do a placement test. Once you find out your level, please contact Instituto Cervantes Londres on 0207 23 503 53 with your personal details and provide your School or Department details. If you would like to look at the materials prior to enrolment, please request a temporary trial login details at: tutorave.londres@cervantes.es
  3. Once you are enrolled, you will receive an email confirming your payment. Your course login details will be provided during the week the course starts.
Please note that you should be able to prove that you are a teacher or a PGCE student by giving your school details or Education Department. We advise you to proceed with the payment when making the inscription and claim the fees paid towards the course from your school or account department.

Additional Class Based Sessions and / or Teacher Training sessions

We also offer class based language sessions in order to consolidate the contents of the course with a native tutor. If you are interested please contacttutorave.londres@cervantes.es

We also offer teacher training sessions to consolidate not only the contents of the course but also to develop specific materials for teaching Spanish at different levels. If you or your school is interested, please contacttutorave.londres@cervantes.es

Why children should learn a second language

7 April 2016 (EuroTalk blog)

The Scottish Government has committed to every child learning a second language at the age of 5. Alongside this, they’ll learn an additional language in P5, which means children will know 3 languages by the time they leave school. It’s called the 1+2 policy and we think it’s a great pledge, as there are so many reasons why children should learn another language.

Earlier this week an article came out stating that ‘bilingual babies are smarter’. Growing up learning or hearing a second language helps to increase their learning capabilities including problem solving and memory. This means not only do children benefit from knowing a second language; it also helps them improve across all other subjects that they’re learning.

Read more...

Robots teach Germany's refugees a foreign language

2 April 2016 (Deutsche-Welle)

Fancy learning a new language from a robot? As Europe struggles to integrate the largest influx of refugees since the end of WWII, scientists have designed a robot that can interact with children learning German.

Read more...

Stonehouse Primary and Nursery launch Scots language book

31 March 2016 (Daily Record)

Stonehouse Primary and Nursery pupils have created and published their own booked called A Daunner Roon Stonehoose.

The book was written in Scots to celebrate the history and continued use of the Scots dialect.

Published by Whitewater Publishing with the support of publisher, Mary Thomson, every child in the nursery and school have contributed to the poems and stories in the book.

Each piece in the book describes life in Stonehouse, from playing in the park to going to school to popping out to the Post Office!

Read more...

eTwinning Generation - Celebrating Ten Years of eTwinning

29 March 2016 (eTwinning)

Thinking about linking your class with another through an eTwinning project? Read the latest publication from the British Council eTwinning team which contains an inspiring collection of testimonials from former participants in eTwinning projects.

Many of the interviewed young people consider eTwinning to be the most motivating
and enjoyable way to learn. Their experiences with eTwinning have helped them to
develop their language and ICT skills, as well as an understanding of different cultures,
in line with the goals set out at the launch of the platform back in 2005. But there is
much more to it.

See the book 'eTwinning Generation - Celebrating Ten Years of eTwinning' and visit the website to find out how to start your own eTwinning journey.

Read more...

Pupils explore life of the poets

29 March 2016 (Southern Reporter)

The Abbotsford Trust and Burgh Primary School, 
Galashiels have been working on a project exploring Sir Walter Scott’s famous home.

Primary 6 pupils have recently visited Abbotsford to try out three different sessions from the Abbotsford Schools Programme.

Pupils explored the historic house and wrote poems based on the treasures that Sir Walter Scott collected, and met Mrs Oakley, a visitor from Scott’s day with lots of weird and wonderful traditional tales to share.

They also discovered Sir Walter’s life and work in the visitor centre exhibition and created drawings of the house and its grotesque clay gargoyles.

Pupils then used what they discovered and learned back in the classroom to create a timeline of Scott’s life, where they also investigated differences between life then and now using a range of primary sources.

Pupils also created interactive games, thought about planning and budgeting for a visit too Abbotsford, identified French vocabulary to describe some of the artefacts in the house and wrote their own evaluation reports reflecting on their visits.

Read more...

How Linguisticator and 'memory palaces' can teach you a new language in weeks

29 March 2016 (Cambridge News)

Learning a new language is not an easy business, but a Cambridge start-up believes it can have you babbling away in another tongue in a matter of weeks by employing medieval memory techniques.

Linguisticator provides online courses which teach people the principles of 'memory palaces', a system developed in the Middle Ages by monks to store information from books, which were often in short supply. It then applies these techniques to language acquisition.

Read more...

Stem and languages specialists 'more likely to go to top universities'

29 March 2016 (TES)

A level students focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects or languages are more likely to go to Russell Group institutions, according to research.

And the study finds that students who specialised in "applied" or "expressive" subjects – such as accounting, law, music and performing arts – were more likely to go on to study at less prestigious newer universities.

Read more...

Gaelic Drama Summer School

28 March 2016 (Fèisean nan Gàidheal)

This year's theatre summer school for Scots Gaelic students aged 14-18 will take place from 4-16 July at Portree in Skye.

Participants receive training and guidance in a wide range of skills - acting, voice, movement, dance, creative skills and props in general. The topics are taught by experienced team of excellent actors and other artists. No prior knowledge of drama or theatre is necessary to take part.

For further information about the summer school, visit the website.

Read more...

Scottish island authority explores teaching Japanese in primary schools

25 March 2016 (TESS)

Orkney has already started trial projects on Japanese culture and language in its two secondaries, Kirkwall Grammar and Stromness Academy with plans now to extend provision to its primaries.

Read the item in TESS, page 8, under 'A week in primary'. (Subscription required).

Read more...

French Easter revision courses

24 March 2016 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française de Glasgow will be running semi-intensive revision courses between Monday 11 and Friday 15 April for Secondary School pupils and University students who are due to sit their French examinations later this year.

These revision courses will concentrate on the following skills: reading, listening and writing.

Full details are available on the Alliance Française website.

Read more...

Welsh footballers help pupils go global

23 March 2016 (Welsh Government)

Players from the Wales National Football team have been doing their bit to help pupils concentrate on their modern foreign languages lessons by launching a new learning resource pack linked to this year’s Euros.

The educational resources have been produced as part of the Welsh Government’s Global Futures plan which aims to improve and promote modern foreign languages in Wales.

The Euros-based resources have been published on Hwb, the digital learning platform for schools, so teachers can capitalise on their pupil’s excitement in the run up to June’s tournament, and use the packs to promote the importance and relevance of modern foreign languages.

Read more...

President Obama: Daughter Malia's Spanish 'Is Much Better Than Mine'

21 March 2016 (ABC News)

President Barack Obama may be the leader of the free world, but he's relying on his daughter Malia as his personal interpreter during his historic trip to Cuba.

Malia was captured translating Spanish for her father on Sunday night in a photo that's since gone viral.

"You know, her Spanish is much better than mine," Obama said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' David Muir. "And I'm hoping that she has a chance to get entirely fluent."

[..] Obama said not taking the time to learn Spanish remains one of his big regrets, though he said "my accent is pretty good."

Listen to the interview on ABC News.

Read more...

Summer courses in France for French teachers and teacher trainers

21 March 2016 (CLA)

The Centre de Linguistique Appliquée (CLA) in France offers summer pedagogical training courses during July and August for French teachers and teacher trainers.

There are six different courses available, each designed to encourage exchange of ideas and networking.

The courses qualify for Erasmus+ funding. 

More information about the programmes on offer can be found on the attached pdf files or by visiting the CLA website.

Read more...

Related Files

Volunteering opportunity for French speaking students

21 March 2016 (Xchange Scotland)

Xchange Scotland, a Glasgow-based youth-led charity, has a brand-new unique volunteering opportunity for French-speaking students.

Due to our strong partnership with French organisation, Solidarites Jeunesses, we will be running a 4-week long Glasgow-based volunteering project for 6 young French volunteers which aims to develop their skills and intercultural understanding and also benefit local communities of Glasgow.

We are looking for local French-speaking volunteers/students who would like to join the group of French volunteers and practise their language skills/help us with project organisation. The level of French language of local volunteers should be preferably between A2-C2 level. We will also be looking for a translator for the project.

We believe this is a great opportunity to practise French language with native speakers here in Glasgow and also to develop organisation and communication skills of young people.

Please see the attached PDF for more details about the project and to register interest by 11 April.

Related Files

Gaelic Virtual School for Scotland

18 March 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig today announced funding to support the creation of a Gaelic virtual school for Scotland, E-Sgoil.

The announcement was made by the Cathraiche of Bòrd na Gàidhlig at the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-2022 Seminar in Edinburgh to open discussions on the creation of the 3rd National Plan for Gaelic.

E-Sgoil will look to design and develop an online learning environment that will provide connectivity initially, between all secondary schools throughout the Western Isles and beyond.

It will provide greater quality of subject access, vocational choices and learning opportunities across Gaelic medium secondary schools nationally.

Read more...

Spanish course for teachers and PGDE students in Scotland

17 March 2016 (Consejería de Educación)

The Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK offer Spanish online courses for Primary and Secondary school teachers in Scotland as well as PGDE students through Aula Virtual de Español Global (AVE Global), an interactive platform specifically designed by the Instituto Cervantes for the teaching and learning of Spanish.

Information about the new 11-week language course for school teachers (Primary and Secondary) and PGDE students in Scotland, which will take place from 11 April 2016 is available on the attached document.  Enrolment open now!

FREE! Euro 2016 challenge for secondary schools

16 March 2016 (Arsenal Double Club)

In celebration of the European Championships in France this summer, the Arsenal Double Club team are launching an exciting, free-to-enter language challenge for all UK secondary schools.

The challenge is to create a language activity for primary school children aged 9-11, in a language of your choice, about any aspect of France or French culture.

The best overall group, as decided by the judges, will receive the Arsenal Double Club Euro 2016 trophy and have their language activity adapted and published as an official Arsenal Double Club teaching material!

This competition is open to all UK secondary schools and you do not need to be an existing Double Club school to participate.

Deadline for entries is 6pm on Tuesday 10 May 2016.

Visit the Arsenal Double Club website for more information and how to register to take part.

Read more...

Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2015-16 finale!

15 March 2016 (SCILT)

Our Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition came to its finale at the Languages Show Live at the SECC, Glasgow on Saturday 12 March. Pupils, parents and teachers celebrated the children’s creativity at the event which gave the opportunity for the children and young people to perform their poems to the audience.

The event drew in a huge audience, with passers-by stopping to also hear their poetry and see them being presented with trophies and prizes from Atta Yaqub, SFA Equity Officer and actor, and Juana Adcock, bilingual poet and translator. The MTOT 2015/16 anthology was also launched, with children and teachers taking home copies containing their wonderful poems.

With over 400 children participating, the hardest task was to decide upon our winners and highly commended entries from each category. Our award winners are as follows:

Category

Name

School

Mother Tongue

 

 

P1 - 3 (Winner)

Simon Paulicek (Czech)

St Paul’s, Shettleston

P1 - 3  (Highly Commended)

Emili Harris (German)

Preston Street Primary

P4 – 6 (Winner)

Daniel Homstol (Norwegian)   

Bishopton  Primary

P4 – 6  (Highly Commended)

Milmante Dzisevic (Russian)

St Fergus  Primary

P4 – 6 (Highly Commended)

Andras Poszmik (Hungarian)

St Anne’s  Primary

P7 – S1 (Winner)

Weronika Jargielo (Polish)

Douglas Academy

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Blanka Szopa (Polish)

St Paul’s  Primary

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Nina Bourdarias (French)

Inveralmond Community High

S2 – 3 (Winner)

Keren Mingole  (BSL)

St Roch’s Secondary

S2 – 3 (Highly Commended)

Solange Becquart (French)

Ellon Academy

Senior (Winner)

Lin Meng  (Mandarin)

Ellon Academy

 

 

 

Other Tongue

 

 

P1 – 3 (Winner)

Freya Mole (BSL)

Preston Street Primary

P4 - 6 (Winner)

Khadidja Chaher (French)

Netherlee Primary

P4 - 6 (Highly Commended

Avelon Mungersdorf (French)

St Ninian’s Primary

P7 – S1 (Winner)

Ailbhe Murphy (Gaelic) 

Glasgow Gaelic School

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Maggie Lawson (French)

Douglas Academy

S2 – 3 (Winner)

Gregor Murray (Spanish)

St Margaret’s Academy

S2 – 3 (Highly Commended)

Aimee Campbell (French)

Inveralmond CHS

Senior (Winner)

Ronan McCart (Spanish)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior (Highly Commended)

Eleanor Pain (Italian)

George Heriot’s School

 

Once we have published photographs from the day and the on-line version of the anthology, we will post via the weekly e-bulletin.  If you don't already receive the news bulletin you can sign-up to receive this each Friday during term time.

SCILT at Language Show Live

10 March 2016 (SCILT)

We’ll be at Language Show Live Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow for the 2-day celebration of all things languages this weekend, so if you’re attending come and see us at stand 432. Our CISS colleagues will be based at stand 440 and we’re also running a number of seminars over the course of the event.

See the Language Show Live website for more information. Hope to see you there!

Read more...

LFEE Europe launching its new blog

10 March 2016